On Rushdie Now

Alia Ahmed at The Hudson Review:

Rushdie’s opening essay, “Wonder Tales,” takes us back to first things: the ancient mythology, both Eastern and Western, that would provide a blueprint for the literature that followed, and the subsequent “wonder tales” that captured his childhood imagination. Treasured among his memories are trips to the university library of Aligarh, riding behind his grandfather on a bicycle (fictionalized as Dr. Aziz in Midnight’s Children, in those pages biking instead in Agra). Yet these were not moralizing gods. Zeus and the gang behaved as badly as their human subjects, as did their Hindu counterparts. But while the Western gods of Olympus and their stories are today relegated to the sidelines of daily life, no longer occupying center stage, the pantheon of Hindu deities are alive and well in India. When, in 2012, Jyoti Singh died of horrific wounds after being raped and thrown off a moving bus in New Delhi, sparking outrage worldwide, an Indian state minister said that she had crossed the Lakshman rekha line—the magical line in the epic poem Ramayana that the god Ram draws around his lover Sita to keep her safe while he is away.

more here.