If Rushdie’s newspaper articles on anti-Americanism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq post-September 11 2001 suggest a shift in the broadly anti-imperialist position reflected in his book The Jaguar Smile and his essay ‘The Empire Writes Back with a Vengeance’, the geopolitical imagination of Rushdie’s fiction seems to complicate this picture. For, as this book has suggested, Rushdie’s fiction has from the outset been concerned with re-framing and re-imagining the long history of Western imperialism — from British territorial colonialism to US military and economic expansion — from the standpoint of South Asia’s political modernity, its independence and subsequent partition. By placing the situation in Kashmir, the partition of India, India’s state of emergency, the legitimation crisis in India’s discourse of state secularism and the rise of the Hindu right in an international frame, Rushdie’s fiction has raised questions about the political legacies of British colonialism, and the viability of a Third World alternative to Western capitalism and Soviet communism during the Cold War period and its aftermath. The Satanic Verses affair and the collapse of the Soviet Union may have seemed to mark a crisis in Rushdie’s position as a tricontinental intellectual, as the end of the Cold War was replaced with what Rushdie himself describes as ‘narrower, ever more fanatical definitions of ourselves’, which are at once ‘religious, regional, [and] ethnic’ (Rushdie 2003: 301).
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