Salman Rushdie on the impending dictatorship in America


The novelist, Salman Rushdie has seen several dictators rise and fall. This time around it is the land of liberty where an authoritarian strongman is burgeoning.

Rushdie witnessed the emergency under Indira Gandhi in 1975. The authoritarian rule of the Indian Prime Minister formed a part of his novel “Midnight’s Children.”

Likewise, the coup instigated by Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq in 1977 against Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the inspiration for his novel “Shame.” In this view, the trajectory of dictatorship has a huge imprint on Rushdie’s mind and verbosity.

Now another dictatorship is emerging in the shape of Trump of which Rushdie has been an avid onlooker. He has been a citizen of the U.S. for the past four years. Rushdie wrote in Washington Post, “Extreme narcissism, detachment from reality, a fondness for sycophants and a distrust of truth-tellers, an obsession with how one is publicly portrayed, a hatred of journalists and the temperament of an out-of-control bulldozer: These are some of the characteristics.”

The world looked up to America for its leadership in liberty and as a land of the pursuit of happiness. But as Rushdie in his most recent novel, “Quichotte,” characterized the present moment as the “Age of Anything-Can Happen,” alludes that a dictatorship in America is in the offing.

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