Salman Rushdie has been kept away from the Literature Festival in Jaipur. The rumours that were flying around mentioned fanatics still determined to do him harm, a government wanting to keep its Muslim voters and organisers who, though daring, had their wings clipped.
Sitting in a packed tent of eager participants, we waited to hear the authors. One by one, session after session they publicly declared that freedom of speech and expression was something that should not be taken for granted. Statements were pronounced and read in his support, the programme organisers were jittery and issued a statement to distance themselves from what was going on, but the authors seemed to be determined to make their point. Freedom of expression had been denied and this was not right. Salman had been kept away but as author after author read out parts of "Midnights Children" and the "Satanic Verses" it was clear that Salman was surreptitiously all around and twitters were flying out of the Literature Festival unstoppable and uncompromising with Salman replying to one
"Thank you for what you just did.Say hi to the audience"