Imaginary Homelands

This is a collection of seventy plus essays on everything under the sun of Salman’s world, or rather it is a collection of Salman’s diary entries for the period from 1982 to 1991. While Salman is a proven master of taking advantage of the anonymity of fiction to make bold statements on life, humanity, philosophy and politics, here he sometimes comes out as an epitome of diplomacy and prevarication, whether Satyajit Ray’s movies are realistic or fabulist, whether Bollywood is cosmopolitan or gaudy.

In the short essay on Anita Desai he is downright humble too. But in the whirlwind of a diatribe on Attenborough, the usual Salman stands out again. Mostly the essays are of three or four pages, except the few long essays, like In good faith 22 pages,  On Palestinian identity 18 pages!

The themes start with Salman’s self identity as an emigrant writer and moves onto openness of society, other literary figures, certain political persons, movies, international issues and then finally to some philosophy. In a way the essays can be understood as Salman’s editorials on the current affairs that had an effect on him. Salman believes that the purpose of writing is to stimulate new ways of looking at the world, to provoke new ways of thinking and to ask new and different questions, which he does in his fictions and has extended it to the non-fiction too. The spectrum of thoughts include racism, dualism of migrants,realism, fantasy, radicalism, socialism and modernism.