By Pei-chen Liao (auth.)
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Additional resources for ‘Post’-9/11 South Asian Diasporic Fiction: Uncanny Terror
As Rushdie explains in his interview with Steve Inskeep about Shalimar’s transformation, ‘both his [Shalimar’s] personal tragedy and the tragedy of Kashmir attacks him in what one might call his honor or his manhood’. In terms of Freud’s psychoanalysis, both Boonyi’s infidelity and the post-Partition conflicts in Kashmir symbolically confirm Shalimar’s castration anxiety – his fear of losing power and love objects like his wife and the Kashmiri paradise. Faced with symbolic threats of castration, Shalimar arguably projects his intensified fear of a broken self and world onto the strange enemies outside and takes aggressive and violent action against his enemies so as to reconstruct his sense of manhood and masculinity.
It is true that Schmitt has been a controversial figure in political philosophy for his participation in the German National Socialist Party in the 1930s and his involvement with Nazi practices during the Second World War. 14 Nevertheless, such criticism, though understandable, should not ignore Schmitt’s philosophical insights into the problem of terrorism, especially the lethal violence of the political based on the existential distinction between friend and enemy, even if and when the distinction is hard to make and distinguish.
In the novel, the American people’s extreme sense of insecurity and fear is reflected in their strong demand for the success of the manhunt and in their aggressive and sometimes bloodthirsty violence against the terrorist assassin. They ‘wanted the pictures right away, a shootout, preferably, or a car chase with helicoptered cameras, or at the very least a good, close-up look at the captured murderer, manacled, shaggy haired, and in orange or green or blue prison fatigues, pleading to be put to death by lethal injection or cyanide gas because he didn’t deserve to live’ (339).