The row involving Salman Rushdie and the cancellation of his visit to India for the Jaipur Literature Festival has severely dented India’s image of being a secular and democratic country. The Centre to a large extent is responsible for its lackluster approach in resolving the matter, as it did not take any concrete step to turf out the hurdles coming in way of Rushdie’s participation to the Lit fest. On the contrary, the message has been spelt out that the visit of Rushdie will pose serious security concerns to the country. The Central government did not take exception to the statements made by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan that Salman Rushdie should cancel his visit. After such coment, the Chief Minister has certainly lost all moral rights of staying at the helm of affairs. The cancellation of Rushdie’s visit is not only a blot to the nation but also proves that the government has in fact bowed before the fundamentalist forces.

The government must be in the know that, Rushdie in the past has made sojourn to India on many occasions, despite facing ban owing to his controversial book. He has also participated in the Jaipur Literature Festival earlier. Needles to say, Rushdie could not come to India as the Congress government is trying to appease Muslim voters in the assembly elections. There is no doubt that Rushdie is a controversial writer and that interestingly a large section of the Muslim community abhors him. People have all the right to dislike him and his work and even protest against his visit to India, but no one can stop a person from coming to his own country. It would have been better, had Rushdie arrived in India and the government would have provided all possible support to him. The Congress cannot deceive the people by saying that Rushdie’s decision not to visit India is his personal choice. Rushdie was forced to take the decision as the government did not assure him of security in the country. The Congress may gain some benefit out of ongoing process of assembly polls, but it can no longer claim that it is willing to fight against the fundamentalist forces. The Congress has not only put down the party image but also disgraced the country.