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The plane explodes over the English Channel, but the two are magically saved.In a miraculous transformation, Farishta takes on the personality of the archangel Gabriel and Chamcha that of a devil.In another moment of crisis, Farishta realises what Chamcha has done, but forgives him and even saves his life. Farishta kills Allie in another outbreak of jealousy and then commits suicide.Chamcha, who has found not only forgiveness from Farishta but also reconciliation with his estranged father and his own Indian identity, decides to remain in India.Chamcha, having miraculously regained his human shape, wants to take revenge on Farishta for having forsaken him after their common fall from the hijacked plane.He does so by fostering Farishta's pathological jealousy and thus destroying his relationship with Allie.One of these sequences contains most of the elements that have been criticised as offensive to Muslims.It is a transformed re-narration of the life of Muhammad (called "Mahound" or "the Messenger" in the novel) in Mecca ("Jahiliyyah").
The book was banned in India as hate speech directed towards a specific religious group.
Chamcha is arrested and passes through an ordeal of police abuse as a suspected illegal immigrant.
Farishta's transformation can partly be read on a realistic level as the symptom of the protagonist's developing schizophrenia.
At its centre is the episode of the so-called satanic verses, in which the prophet first proclaims a revelation in favour of the old polytheistic deities, but later renounces this as an error induced by the Devil.
There are also two opponents of the "Messenger": a demonic heathen priestess, Hind bint Utbah, and an irreverent skeptic and satirical poet, Baal.