Monday, June 04, 2012

Quiz of the Day - 4 June 2012

A dry "who am I talking about" type question for today's daily quiz.
He was sent to Rugby at the age of 13 from where he remembers a particularly traumatic morning spent in figuring out how to eat a kipper. At Cambridge, he had studied History, with an emphasis on Islamic subjects. He had also developed an interest in acting during the same period. After graduating in 1968, he moved to Pakistan, where his parents were now based. But he had to return within the year to England, after an attempt at staging Edward Albee's "The Zoo Story" got him into trouble with the censors on account of its references to pork. His first book was published in 1974 and disappeared without a trace. It was not until seven years later that he became something of a sensation.
Identify the person!
Please send in your answer to shovon76[at]gmail[dot]com.
The answer, along with the names of the persons with the right answer, will be published tomorrow.
Answer: Its none other than Salman Rushdie. Although his first novel, titled Grimus and which was part science fiction, was generally ignored by the public and the pundits alike, his second novel Midnight's Children, published in 1981, won him a Booker and catapulted him to literary notability. His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, caused immediate controversy in the Islamic world because of what was perceived as an irreverent depiction of the prophet Muhammad. The title refers to a disputed Muslim tradition that is related in the book. According to this tradition, Muhammad (Mahound in the book) added verses (sura) to the Qur'an accepting three goddesses who used to be worshipped in Mecca as divine beings. According to the legend, Muhammad later revoked the verses, saying the devil tempted him to utter these lines to appease the Meccans (hence the "Satanic" verses). However, the narrator reveals to the reader that these disputed verses were actually from the mouth of the Archangel Gibreel. The book was banned in many countries with large Muslim communities. (12 total: India, Bangladesh, Sudan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Thailand, Tanzania, Indonesia, Singapore, Venezuela and Pakistan)
On 14 February 1989, a fatwā requiring Rushdie's execution was proclaimed on Radio Tehran by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of Iran at the time, calling the book "blasphemous against Islam" (chapter IV of the book depicts the character of an Imam in exile who returns to incite revolt from the people of his country with no regard for their safety). A bounty was offered for Rushdie's death, and he was thus forced to live under police protection for several years. On 7 March 1989, the United Kingdom and Iran broke diplomatic relations over the Rushdie controversy.
Congratulations to Anindya Mozumdar and Bharti Kulkarni for getting this right.
And, sorry for the delay in posting the answer. Actually, the heat got to me and I found myself grounded for 3-4 days.


  1. I like this post. This is really nice post.

  2. Husband of the host of Top Chef?

    1. Prefixing an ex would be more appropriate.