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Rushdie says denying him Indian visa was a deep wound

world Updated: Sep 23, 2012 23:37 IST

Describing not being able to visit India for over 12 years as a “long exile,” controversial India-born writer Salman Rushdie says that being denied a visa and Indian embassies abroad keeping away from him was a “deep wound” inflicted on him by India.

Rushdie’s 1988 book, The Satanic Verses, was soon banned in India, where passions were aroused by the book and for years authorities denied him a visa to prevent any trouble.

Leaving India in 1987 after shooting a documentary, Rushdie writes in the third person in his newly-released memoir, 'Joseph Anton': "He did not know it then, but this was the beginning of a long exile."

Rushdie adds: “After India became the first country to ban The Satanic Verses it would also refuse to give him a travel visa... He would not be allowed to come back, to come home, for twelve and a half years.”

Describing the impact of the book’s ban and Iran’s ‘fatwa’ to kill him, Rushdie writes that “the wounds inflicted by India were the deepest.” There was no question, he was told, of his being given a visa “to visit the country of his birth.”