Salman Rushdie

(Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie)

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie
  • Born: June 19, 1947
  • Nationality: Indian
  • Profession: Novelist

120

Quotes

16

Citations

84

Concepts

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Videos

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie FRSL is a British Indian novelist and essayist. His second novel, Midnight's Children (1981), won the Booker Prize in 1981 and was deemed to be "the best novel of all winners" on two separate occasions, marking the 25th and the 40th anniversary of the prize. Much of his fiction is set on the Indian subcontinent. He combines magical realism with historical fiction; his work is concerned with the many connections, disruptions, and migrations between Eastern and Western civilizations.

Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
Don't let the zealots make Muslim a terrifying word. Terrorism
Freedom to reject is the only freedom Freedom & Liberty
Good advice is rarer than rubies. Human Nature
I am a writer—a comic and satirical writer. I am much better at poking fun at politicians who screw up than I am of telling them what to do. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
I do not envy people who think they have a complete explanation of the world, for the simple reason that they are obviously wrong. Human Nature
If you are living in a free society then use the freedom. What good is freedom if you do not use it. Freedom & Liberty
If you’re secure in your belief system you can shrug off criticism. The Islamic rioters about the movie are not secure. Civil Disorder, Riots, Protests & Demonstrations
It matters, it always matters, to name rubbish as rubbish ... to do otherwise is to legitimize it. Miscellaneous
Men are not necessarily more zealous for truth than they are for error. Human Nature
The First Amendment is one of the great treasures of Western culture. It’s one of the reasons that people are attracted here. It’s one of the reasons I came here. Freedom & Liberty
The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas — uncertainty, progress, change — into crimes. Religion & God
The only people who see the whole picture are the ones who step outside the frame. Human Nature
The past is a country from which we have all emigrated Miscellaneous
There is no right in the world not to be offended. That right simply doesn’t exist. In a free society, an open society, people have strong opinions, and these opinions very often clash. In a democracy, we have to learn to deal with this. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist. Freedom & Liberty
What kind of a god is it that's upset by a cartoon in Danish? Religion & God
A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return.
A mature society understands that at the heart of democracy is argument. Society
A poet's work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep. Literature, Writers & Writing ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Actually, I don't even like parties. I would much prefer a room with four friends who sit around and have dinner. I detest nightclubs. And I don't like places where the noise is so loud you can't talk to people.
American literature has always been immigrant.
An attack upon our ability to tell stories is not just censorship - it is a crime against our nature as human beings. Nature
As a writer, one of the things we all learned from the movies was a kind of compression that didn't exist before people were used to watching films. For instance, if you wanted to write a flashback in a novel, you once had to really contextualize it a lot, to set it up. Now, readers know exactly what you're doing. Close-ups, too. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
At the height of the British Empire very few English novels were written that dealt with British power. It's extraordinary that at the moment in which England was the global superpower the subject of British power appeared not to interest most writers. Power
British society has never been cleansed of the filth of imperialism. Society
Broad-mindedness is related to tolerance; open-mindedness is the sibling of peace. War & Peace
But there's one thing we must all be clear about: terrorism is not the pursuit of legitimate goals by some sort of illegitimate means. Whatever the murderers may be trying to achieve, creating a better world certainly isn't one of their goals. Instead they are out to murder innocent people.
Censorship is the thing that stops you doing what you want to do, and what writers want to talk about is what they do, not what stops them doing it.
Free societies are societies in motion, and with motion comes friction.
Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself. Life
Friendships are the family we make - not the one we inherit. I've always been someone to whom friendship, elective affinities, is as important as family. Friendship ;Families, Children & Parenting
Have you noticed the physical resemblance between Imran Khan and Gaddafi? If you were making a movie of the life of Gaddafi and you wanted a slightly better-looking version of Gaddafi, you might cast Imran Khan. Life
I am certainly not a good Muslim. But I am able now to say that I am Muslim; in fact it is a source of happiness to say that I am now inside, and a part of the community whose values have always been closest to my heart. Happiness & Unhappiness
I am on Facebook, but mainly as a way to spy on my children. I find out more about them from their Facebook pages than from what they tell me.
I didn't want to become some embittered old hack getting his revenge for the rest of my life. And I didn't want to become some scared creature cowering in a corner. I remember telling myself not to carry the hatred around, although I know where it is. I have it in a trunk in storage. Life
I do have a lot of time for people in my life, and friendship is a very important subject for me. I think I'm unusual among the writers I know in that respect. Life ;Time ;Friendship
I do not need the idea of God to explain the world I live in. Religion & God
I do think of Bombay as my hometown. Those are the streets I walked when I was learning to walk. And it's the place that my imagination has returned to more than anywhere else. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
I don't know what to say about literary critics. I think it's probably best to say nothing.
I grew up reading 'The Jungle Books' and loving them.
I only met Margaret Thatcher twice. The thing that I thought about meeting her was how extraordinarily intelligent she was. You really had to be on your game; otherwise, she'd make mincemeat of you.
I remember when I was young, many cities in the Muslim world were cosmopolitan cities with a lot of culture.
I think if we wish to live in any kind of a moral universe, we must hold the perpetrators of violence responsible for the violence they perpetrate. It's very simple. The criminal is responsible for the crime.
If bigots behave like bigots, it's not a huge surprise.
If my child had prejudice in his head, I'd be ashamed. I would see it as my failure as a parent. Failure
If terrorism is to be defeated, the world of Islam must take on board the secularist-humanist principles on which the modern is based, and without which Muslim countries' freedom will remain a distant dream. Freedom & Liberty
If Woody Allen were a Muslim, he'd be dead by now.
If you live in free countries, you don't have to spend all your life arguing about freedom because it is all around you. It seems redundant to make a lot of noise about something when, in fact, there it is. But if someone tries to remove it, it becomes important for you to formulate your own defenses of it. Life ;Freedom & Liberty
If you're offended, it's your problem.
I'm not a prophet, but I always thought it was natural for dictatorships to fall. I remember in 1989, two months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, had you said it was going to happen no one would have believed you. The system seemed powerful and unbreakable. Suddenly overnight it blew away like dust.
In a novel, if you're any good, you don't just have good people or bad people. You have complicated people. You have real people.
In an ideal world, you could reunite the Pakistan-occupied part of Kashmir with the Indian-occupied part and restore the old borders. You could have both India and Pakistan agreeing to guarantee those borders, demilitarise the area, and to invest in it economically. In a sane world that would happen, but we don't live in a sane world.
In the '50s, listening to Elvis and others on the radio in Bombay - it didn't feel alien. Noises made by a truck driver from Tupelo, Mississippi, seemed relevant to a middle-class kid growing up on the other side of the world. That has always fascinated me.
In the experience of art, time seems not to exist. Time ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
In this world without quiet corners, there can be no easy escapes from history, from hullabaloo, from terrible, unquiet fuss. History
It is literature which for me opened the mysterious and decisive doors of imagination and understanding. To see the way others see. To think the way others think. And above all, to feel.
It may be that the books that were best liked in your lifetime are not the ones that are best liked 100 years later.
It seems that the right of freedom of speech that was enshrined in numerous constitutions is now under attack by religious institutions. Freedom & Liberty
It's one thing to say, 'I don't like what you said to me and I find it rude and offensive,' but the moment you threaten violence in return, you've taken it to another level, where you lose whatever credibility you had.
I've always prided myself on my discipline as a writer. I do it like a job. I get up in the morning and go to my desk. Morning
I've been fascinated by Machiavelli since I was very young. I've always felt that he had a bad rap from history, and that he was actually a person quite unlike what we now think of as Machiavellian. He was a republican. He disliked totalitarian government. History ;Government
I've never had very high regard for therapists. I owe my health, my mental survival, to my friends and loved ones. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
Like everybody else, I've had relationships in which I was passionately in love but was completely miserable all the time and didn't trust the person I was in love with one inch. Time ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Trust
Many men start being friendly with women because they are trying to seduce them. I'm not trying to seduce them. I just like hanging out with them. Women
Many of us didn't believe in the image of bin Laden as a wandering Old Man of the Mountains, living on plants and insects in an inhospitable cave somewhere on the porous Pakistan-Afghan border.
Memory is a way of telling you what's important to you.
Most of what matters in your life takes place in your absence. Life
Names, once they are in common use, quickly become mere sounds, their etymology being buried, like so many of the earth's marvels, beneath the dust of habit.
One of the extraordinary things about human events is that the unthinkable becomes thinkable.
One of the problems with defending free speech is you often have to defend people that you find to be outrageous and unpleasant and disgusting.
Original thought, original artistic expression is by its very nature questioning, irreverent, iconoclastic. Nature
Originality is dangerous.
Out-of-step intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and the deceased Edward Said have often been dismissed as crazy extremists, 'anti-American,' and in Mr. Said's case even, absurdly, as apologists for Palestinian 'terrorism.'
Pakistan is alarmed by the rising Indian influence in Afghanistan, and fears that an Afghanistan cleansed of the Taliban would be an Indian client state, thus sandwiching Pakistan between two hostile countries. The paranoia of Pakistan about India's supposed dark machinations should never be underestimated.
Perhaps because my relationship with my father went through such a long, bumpy time, it's been very important for me to work to try to keep lines of communication open between my sons and myself to try to avoid my father's mistakes. At least if you're making mistakes, make different mistakes. Time ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Rock and roll music - the music of freedom frightens people and unleashes all manner of conservative defense mechanisms. Music, Chants & Rapps ;Freedom & Liberty
Self-censorship is a lie to yourself; if you are going to be trying to seriously create art, to create literary art, and you decide to hold back, to censor yourself, then you are a fool to yourself and it would be better that you kept your mouth shut and did not speak. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Sometimes great, banned works defy the censor's description and impose themselves on the world - 'Ulysses,' 'Lolita,' the 'Arabian Nights.'
Sometimes I think that when people become famous, there's a public perception that they are not human beings any more. They don't have feelings; they don't get hurt; you can act and say as you like about them. Fame
Sometimes legends make reality, and become more useful than the facts.
Sometimes writing a novel is not unlike having a baby. You'd have to ask a female novelist to compare the pain.
Stories in families are colossally important. Every family has stories: some funny, some proud, some embarrassing, some shameful. Knowing them is proof of belonging to the family. Humor ;Families, Children & Parenting
The acceptance that all that is solid has melted into the air, that reality and morality are not givens but imperfect human constructs, is the point from which fiction begins.
The accidents of my life have given me the ability to make stories in which different parts of the world are brought together, sometimes harmoniously, sometimes in conflict, and sometimes both - usually both. The difficulty in these stories is that if you write about everywhere you can end up writing about nowhere. Life
The difference between memoir and autobiography, as far as I see it, is that a memoir is there primarily to tell one particular story, whereas an autobiography tries to be a full account of a life. Life
The enemy for the fanatic is pleasure, which makes it extremely important to continue to indulge in pleasure. Dance madly. That is how you get rid of terrorism.
The First Amendment defends all forms of speech including hate speech, which is why groups like Ku Klux Klan are allowed to utter their poisonous remarks.
The glamour of being forbidden must not be underestimated.
The mistake of the West was to put the Sauds on the throne of Saudi Arabia and give them control of the world's oil fortune, which they then used to propagate Wahhabi Islam.
The only thing worse than a bad review from the Ayatollah Khomeini would be a good review from the Ayatollah Khomeini.
The only way of living in a free society is to feel that you have the right to say and do stuff. Society
The problem of telling contemporary history is that your message gets outdated. History
The question I'm always asking myself is: are we masters or victims? Do we make history, or does history make us? Do we shape the world, or are we just shaped by it? The question of do we have agency in our lives or whether we are just passive victims of events is, I think, a great question, and one that I have always tried to ask. History
The suicide bomber's imagination leads him to believe in a brilliant act of heroism, when in fact he is simply blowing himself up pointlessly and taking other people's lives.
The thing that always attracted me to New York was the sense of being in a place where a lot of people had a lot of stories not unlike mine. Everybody comes from somewhere else. Everyone's got a Polish grandmother, some kind of metamorphosis in their family circumstances. That's a very big thing - the experience of not living where you started. Families, Children & Parenting
The way you write a screenplay is that you close your eyes and run the movie in your head and then you write it down.
The whole story of migration and what that has done in interconnecting the planet is obviously something I've written about a lot.
The world is a very abnormal place.
The world is full of things that upset people. But most of us deal with it and move on and don't try and burn the planet down.
The writers of the French enlightenment had deliberately used blasphemy as a weapon, refusing to accept the power of the Church to set limiting points on thought. Power
There are two things in Indian history - one is the incredible optimism and potential of the place, and the other is the betrayal of that potential - for example, corruption. Those two strands intertwine through the whole of Indian history, and maybe not just Indian history. History
There is no such thing as perfect security, only varying levels of insecurity.
There is nothing intrinsic linking any religion with any act of violence. The crusades don't prove that Christianity was violent. The Inquisition doesn't prove that Christianity tortures people. But that Christianity did torture people. Religion & God
This is going to make me sound ancient, but I remember Juhu Beach when there weren't any buildings on it. You'd go through countryside and arrive at this amazing beach. I remember driving from Delhi to the Qutab Minar through countryside. Mehrauli was a little village - that's all gone.
This paranoid Islam, which blames outsider, 'infidels', for all the ills of Muslim societies, and whose proposed remedy is the closing of those societies to the rival project of modernity, is presently the fastest growing version of Islam in the world.
This strange business of what it is to be a writer is this increasingly insane world in which we live, in which surrealism, it seems, is the new realism. Business, Commerce & Finance
Throughout human history, the apostles of purity, those who have claimed to possess a total explanation, have wrought havoc among mere mixed-up human beings. History
Two things form the bedrock of any open society - freedom of expression and rule of law. If you don't have those things, you don't have a free country. Society ;Freedom & Liberty
Vertigo is the conflict between the fear of falling and the desire to fall.
War used to be something you could stand on the nearby hill and watch. Now we have total war; everybody's in it. We have total economics as well. Everything affects everybody. The Malaysian currency shakes, and people around the world are seriously affected. War & Peace
We live in a frightened time, and people self-censor all the time and are afraid of going into some subjects because they are worried about violent reactions. Time
What distinguishes a great artist from a weak one is first their sensibility and tenderness; second, their imagination, and third, their industry.
What happened in Pakistan was that people were told: You're all Muslim, so now you're a country. As we saw in 1971 with the Bangladesh secession, the answer to that was: 'Oh no, we're not.'
What I worry about and don't like is the way in which the ideology of multiculturalism has declined into cultural relativism. I think that's very dangerous. When the Archbishop of Canterbury, for God's sake, says that you can't have one law for everybody... that's stupid. Religion & God
What one writer can make in the solitude of one room is something no power can easily destroy. Power
When people do the cowardly thing, it's not about respect, it's about fear. Respect
When thought becomes excessively painful, action is the finest remedy.
When you are writing a book, it feels as if you are simply concentrating on the world of the book and that whatever is happening in your personal life is outside the room, as it were. But maybe that's just the way you have to talk to yourself to make it possible. Life
You can take the boy out of Bombay; you can't take Bombay out of the boy, you know.