Bhagat attacks Rushdie, says you can't hurt feelings in India

Last Updated: Sun, Jan 22, 2012 13:23 hrs

Jaipur: A day after his comments against Salman Rushdie created ripples, popular author Chetan Bhagat on Sunday said the Booker Prize winner was a hero to him as well but not for "attacking God" and religious sentiments in India have to be respected.

"He is a hero as far as his others writings are concerned, but writing something that attacks somebody's god is not the right thing to do," said the author on the sidelines of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

"I would not make him a hero on that count," he said while responding to questions.

"I'll not make somebody who attacks my god a hero. This is India, you cannot hurt feelings here," he said.

The community of authors here appeared divided over the controversy that has taken over this edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival, with some supporting the act by four writers of reading from the banned book 'The Satanic Verses and others advocating restraint.

Bhagat was one of the few who spoke strongly against promoting Rushdie's controversial writings.

But he maintained that "it is not about myself verses Rushdie, there is no question.

"I am a humble writer. I cannot match up to him. He won the Booker the year I was born," Bhagat said.

But, at the same time he reiterated his stand that religious sentiments in India have to be respected.

Asked if the controversy looked "stage managed" to him, he said it does not appear to be the case but it was the mediaҒs thirst for big stories that was driving it.

"This is not managed but the media needs 24 hour news and I guess not much is happening in India at the moment, and no scam is being unearthed. We need to get over it now," he said.

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