Don't make a hero out of Rushdie: Chetan

Don't make a hero out of Rushdie: Chetan

Most writers gathered at the Jaipur Literature Festival make common cause with Salman Rushdie who had to back out of the event due to death threats. However, writer Chetan Bhagat strikes a discordant note.

Chetan, who was here to attend a session “In Search of a Story” in conversation with John  Elliot, said: “Let’s not make heroes out of people who have been banned. They have been banned for hurting people. They shouldn’t be banned but they are not heroes.

“You can say Muslims are backward, aggressive. That’s fine. But they are right to get upset when their gods are attacked. I wouldn’t like it if my gods are attacked.” 

In the same breath, he said there is no point in being extremist. “At some point, just shake hands with the other person. I’ve never had to go hungry or offend people to attract attention. I can get it by being right and communicating that.”

Reacting to the topic of parental pressure  on their children, Bhagat, an IIT graduate, says: “Around 95 per cent of parents still push kids to join IIT. But there is a change. There’s more opportunity now. Event management is a big industry. Younger  generation is more passionate.  Maybe this generation will be less harsh on their kids. Change happens slowly. Though it is fast in books.”

Is corruption just a symptom? “Yes it does not exist if huge inequity didn’t exist. Election time campaign plank is caste,  religion quotas. Lack of good values is an issue. What are Indian values? We don’t have a consensus on what we want Indians to be. No one cares about India. Anna has created taste for good values. Young people don’t want to see good people who are poor. They want good people who are rich.”

On being targeted by the literary critics, Bhagat says:  “This is why I’ve become a motivational speaker. But my audience wants entertainment. So I had to add a love story. But to make it even hotter, it had to be an infidelity angle. Or else they will say “Yeh kya Anna Hazare type book likh diya.

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