Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju has blamed the 'colonial inferiority complex' of Indians as the reason for making a 'poor' and 'substandard' Salman Rushdie a great writer.
"Whole problem with the so-called educated Indians of today is that they still suffer from the colonial inferiority complex. So whoever lives in London and New York must be a great writer, while writers living in India are inferior," Katju said in a statement.
"I have read some of Rushdie's works and am of the opinion that he is a poor writer, and but for 'Satanic Verses' (he) would have remained largely unknown. Even 'Midnight's Children' is hardly great literature," he said.
On the controversy surrounding Rushdie during the Jaipur Literary Fest that ended Tuesday, Katju said: "I am not in favour of religious obscurantism. But neither do I wish to elevate a sub-standard writer into a hero."
"Salman Rushdie dominated the Jaipur Literature Festival. I do not wish to get into the controversy whether banning him was correct or not. I am raising a much more fundamental issue," he said.
Referring to the Jaipur festival, Katju said one would have expected "serious discussion on literature, particularly indigenous literature" of the likes of Kabir, Premchand, Sharat Chandra, Manto, Ghalib, Faiz, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Subramania Bharti.
"Instead the total focus at Jaipur appeared to be Rushdie. Two personalities linked with films were projected as 'the finest poets' in India, though to my mind their work is of a very inferior order. This is the low level to which the Jaipur Festival sank," the PCI chairman said.