Critically acclaimed author Sir Salman Rushdie has been conferred with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during his visit to the Indiana University Bloomington campus March 29. Rushdie was in Bloomington as part of the university’s semester-long “India Remixed: Global Arts and Humanities Festival.”
In his address, Rushdie compared eastern and western fiction, discussing how eastern fiction is less likely to have some kind of moral revelation at the end than western fiction and how kids have too much independence in western stories.
“They don’t guarantee the triumph of virtue,” he said of eastern tales as he recalled listening to many stories as a child and urged the audience of 1,000 in Indiana University’s auditorium, to write unrealistic stories as they have a more powerful meaning. “Write what you know, but only if what you know is really interesting. I’m in favor of continuing to make things up. We are all dreaming creatures, so dream on paper,” Rushdie said.
“For more than four decades, Sir Salman Rushdie has been a teller of truths. Through the conferral of an honorary degree upon Sir Salman Rushdie today, we acknowledge and recognize that the extraordinary works for which he is renowned constitute major contributions to world literature, advancements of our culture, and that they shed light on the truth of what it means to be human,” McRobbie said about Rushdie.
Rushdie has written 13 novels, including “Midnight’s Children” and “The Satanic Verses,” for which the Islamic Republic of Iran leader issued a fatwā against him, calling for Rushdie to be punished by death as the Islamic spiritual leader called the book “blasphemous and insulting toward Muslims.”
The fatwā ended up creating violence around the world and Rushdie had to live under police protection for a few years though he continued to write and publish his books during that time. Rushdie was born in India and his work primarily focuses on writing fictional stories that explain the difficulties of reality.