Rushdie Op-Ed

An Op-Ed by Salman Rushdie appeared in the Sunday New York Times, about the revolting trend of retaliatory rapes in Pakistan and India, and the role that extremist cults like the Deobandi play in their perpetuation.

The “culture” of rape that exists in India and Pakistan arises from profound social anomalies, its origins lying in the unchanging harshness of a moral code based on the concepts of honor and shame. Thanks to that code’s ruthlessness, raped women will go on hanging themselves in the woods and walking into rivers to drown themselves. It will take generations to change that. Meanwhile, the law must do what it can.

In Pakistan, the Supreme Court has taken one small but significant step in the matter of [rape victim] Mukhtar Mai; now it is for the police and politicians to start pursuing rapists instead of hounding their victims. As for India, at the risk of being called a communalist, I must agree that any country that claims to be a modern, secular democracy must secularize and unify its legal system, and take power over women’s lives away, once and for all, from medievalist institutions like Darul-Uloom.

Rushdie’s new novel, Shalimar The Clown, comes out in September.

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