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A collection of quotes and sayings by Salman Rushdie on courage, writing, censorship, speech, destiny, existence, God, inhumanity, dogma, aim, regrets and ideas.

97 Famous Salman Rushdie Quotes That We Can't Ignore

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Born On
19 June 1947 AD

Born In
Mumbai

Age
70

Salman Rushdie is a renowned British Indian novelist and essayist, known as the most controversial novelist of the 20th century. He was born in Bombay, British India, in a wealthy family and pursued his graduation from the University of Cambridge. He debuted in his writing career with ‘Grimus’ which was a great blend of fantasy and science fiction but was not successful. He hit back the literary world with his next book titled ‘Midnight's Children’ which was very successful. In this book he portrayed the history of India from the perspective of a laborer. This book was honored with some of the most renowned awards including the ‘Booker Prize’ and the ‘James Tait Black Memorial Prize’. He further published ‘The Satanic Verses’ which continues to be the most controversial book of his career and it also brought him various accolades including the ‘Whitbread Book Award’. The book was condemned for blasphemy against Islam and a bounty was announced for his head by the Islamic leader of Iran. These controversies could not stop him from writing and expressing his thoughts through his books and novels. He successfully published his works to justify his reputation as a writer. Salman Rushdie is quite often in the news for his radical views; he also shares his views on several political, social, religious and literary issues. We have compiled his quotes from his novels, writings, speeches, interviews and his general life. Take a look at the quotes and thoughts by Salman Rushdie who has a completely different take on religion and world.

I have been a swallower of lives; and to know me, just the one of me, you'll have to swallow the lot as well.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

You never know the answers to the questions of life until you are asked.

- Shalimar the Clown, Salman Rushdie

Man is the Storytelling Animal, and that in stories are his identity, his meaning, and his lifeblood.

- Luka and the Fire of Life, Salman Rushdie

One minute you've got a lucky star watching over you and the next instant it's done a bunk.

- Salman Rushdie

Sometimes we feel we straddle two cultures; at other times, that we fall between two stools.

- Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991, Salman Rushdie

It is all for love. Which is a wonderful and dashing matter. But which can also be a very foolish thing.

- Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie

Don't you know girls have to fool people every day of their lives if they want to get anywhere?

- Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie

We are the only animals that tell stories to understand the world we live in.

- Salman Rushdie

All names mean something.

- Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie

Believe in your own eyes and you'll get into a lot of trouble, hot water, a mess.

- Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie

Without water we are nothing", the traveler thought. "Even an emperor, denied water, would swiftly turn to dust. Water is the real monarch and we are all its slaves.

- The Enchantress Of Florence, Salman Rushdie

What grows best in the heat: fantasy; unreason; lust.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Life is lived forward but is judged in reverse.

- Joseph Anton: A Memoir, Salman Rushdie

Where there is no belief, there is no blasphemy.

- Salman Rushdie

This may be the curse of human race . Not that we are different from one anther , but we are so alike .

- The Enchantress Of Florence, Salman Rushdie

Can one drown in one's element... If fish can drown in water, can human beings suffocate in air?

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

...because silence, too, has an echo, hollower and longer-lasting than the reverberations of any sound.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Peace broke out.

- Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie

One either loves, or waits for love, or banishes love for good. That is the full range of possible choices.

- The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie

When you know what you're against you have taken the first step to discovering what you're for.

- The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie

I always thought storytelling was like juggling [...] You keep a lot of different tales in the air, and juggle them up and down, and if you're good you don't drop any.

- Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie

In the end, you write the book that grabs you by the throat and demands to be written.

- Salman Rushdie

Freedom is not a tea party, India. Freedom is a war.

- Shalimar the Clown, Salman Rushdie

A man who catches History's eye is thereafter bound to a mistress from whom he will never escape.

- Shame, Salman Rushdie

Wherever goodness lay, it did not lie in ritual, unthinking obeisance before a deity but rather, perhaps, in the slow clumsy, error-strewn working out of an individual or collective path.

- The Enchantress Of Florence, Salman Rushdie

Between shame and shamelessness lies the axis upon which we turn; meteorological conditions at both these poles are of the most extreme, ferocious type. Shamelessness, shame: the roots of violence.

- Shame, Salman Rushdie

A people that has remained convinced of its greatness and invulnerability, that has chosen to believe such a myth in the face of all the evidence, is a people in the grip of a kind of sleep, or madness.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

A little bit of one story joins onto an idea from another, and hey presto, . . . not old tales but new ones. Nothing comes from nothing.

- Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie

If love is a yearning to be like (even to become) the beloved, then hatred, it must be said, can be engendered by the same ambition, when it cannot be fulfilled.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

Ignorantly is how we all fall in love; for it is a kind of fall. Closing our eyes, we leap from that cliff in hope of a soft landing. Nor is it always soft; but still, without that leap nobody comes to life.

- The Moor's Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie

The inevitable triumph of illusion over reality that was the single most obvious truth about the history of the human race.

- Shalimar the Clown, Salman Rushdie

What's the use of stories that aren't even true?

- Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie

Only the foolish, blinded by language's conventions, think of fire as red or gold. Fire is blue at it's melancholy rim, green in it's envious heart. It may burn white, or even, in it's greatest rages, black.

- Salman Rushdie

Nobody can judge an internal injury by the size of the superficial wound.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

If I were asked for a one-sentence sound bite on religion, I would say I was against it.

- Salman Rushdie

Exile is a dream of a glorious return. Exile is a vision of revolution: Elba, not St Helena. It is an endless paradox: looking forward by always looking back. The exile is a ball hurled high into the air.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

My heart broke open and history fell in.

- The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie

Optimism is a disease

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

People don't like being around despair. Our tolerance for the truly hopeless, for those who are irredeemably broken by life is strictly limited. The sob stories we like are the ones that end before we're bored.

- The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie

My horizon's have shrunk and I have only endings to write.

- The Enchantress Of Florence, Salman Rushdie

There is nothing like a War for the reinvention of lives...

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

India, the new myth--a collective fiction in which anything was possible, a fable rivalled only by the two other mighty fantasies: money and God.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Happy endings must come at the end of something,' the Walrus pointed out. 'If they happen in the middle of a story, or an adventure, or the like, all they do is cheer things up for awhile.

- Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie

It may be argued that the past is a country from which we have all emigrated, that its loss is part of our common humanity.

- Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991, Salman Rushdie

Things, even people have a way of leaking into each other like flavours when you cook.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Having been borne across the world, we are translated men. It is normally supposed that something always gets lost in translation; I cling, obstinately, to the notion that something can also be gained.

- Salman Rushdie

For every snake, there is a ladder; for every ladder,a snake

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Everything has shape, if you look for it. There is no escape from form.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

A book is not completed till it's read.

- Salman Rushdie

The lessons one learns at school are not always the ones the school thinks it's teaching.

- Joseph Anton: A Memoir, Salman Rushdie

What you were is forever who you are.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Perhaps, if one wishes to remain an individual in the midst of the teeming multitudes, one must make oneself grotesque.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return.

- Salman Rushdie

I admit it: above all things, I fear absurdity.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Whores and writers, Mahound. We are the people you can't forgive.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

He knew what he knew: that the real world was full of magic, so magical worlds could easily be real.

- Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie

Nothing comes from nothing, Thieflet; no story comes from nowhere; new stories are born from old--it is the new combinations that make them new.

- Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie

Make as much racket as you like people. Noise is life and an excess of noise is a sign that life is good. There will be time for us all to be quiet when we are safely dead.

- The Enchantress Of Florence, Salman Rushdie

Question: What is the opposite of faith? Not disbelief. Too final, certain, closed. Itself is a kind of belief. Doubt.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

When you throw everything up in the air anything becomes possible.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

We are described into corners, and then we must describe ourselves out of corners.

- Salman Rushdie

I learned: the first lesson of my life: nobody can face the world with his eyes open all the time.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Fundamentalism isn't about religion, it's about power.

- Salman Rushdie

Vertigo is the conflict between the fear of falling and the desire to fall.

- Salman Rushdie

I want more than what I want. (Vina Apsara)

- The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie

We crave permission openly to become our secret selves.

- The Moor's Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie

Not all possibilities are open to us. The world is finite; our hopes spill over its rim.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

What kind of Christmas present would Jesus ask Santa for?

- Fury, Salman Rushdie

To understand just one life, you have to swallow the world.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Books choose their authors; the act of creation is not entirely a rational and conscious one.

- Salman Rushdie

A sigh isn't just a sigh. We inhale the world and breathe out meaning. While we can. While we can.

- The Moor's Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie

Something was badly amiss with the spiritual life of the planet...Too many demons inside people claiming to believe in God.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

Reality is a question of perspective; the further you get from the past, the more concrete and plausible it seems - but as you approach the present, it inevitably seems more and more incredible.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

You can't judge an internal injury by the size of the hole.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

Children are the vessels into which adults pour their poison.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

We were language's magpies by nature, stealing whatever sounded bright and shiny.

- The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie

What can't be cured must be endured.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

So India’s problem turns out to be the world’s problem. What happened in India has happened in God’s name. The problem’s name is God.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

Perhaps the story you finish is never the one you begin.

- Salman Rushdie

‎No people whose word for 'yesterday' is the same as their word for 'tomorrow' can be said to have a firm grip on the time.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

The world, somebody wrote, is the place we prove real by dying in it.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

Masks beneath masks until suddenly the bare bloodless skull.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

Realism can break a writer's heart.

- Shame, Salman Rushdie

Most of what matters in our lives takes place in our absence.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

What's real and what's true aren't necessarily the same.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

How do you defeat terrorism? Don’t be terrorized.

- Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002, Salman Rushdie

Faith without doubt is addiction

- Salman Rushdie

The only people who see the whole picture,' he murmured, 'are the ones who step out of the frame.

- The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie

We all owe death a life.

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Free societies...are societies in motion, and with motion comes tension, dissent, friction. Free people strike sparks, and those sparks are the best evidence of freedom's existence.

- Salman Rushdie

To understand just one life you have to swallow the world ... do you wonder, then, that I was a heavy child?

- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

A photograph is a moral decision taken in one eighth of a second.

- The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie

A poet's work . . . to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep.

- Salman Rushdie

Now I know what a ghost is. Unfinished business, that's what.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

From the beginning men used God to justify the unjustifiable.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.

- Salman Rushdie

Language is courage: the ability to conceive a thought, to speak it, and by doing so to make it true.

- The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie