Despite ill-health, he nearly completed book on Hindutva

Despite ill-health, he nearly completed book on Hindutva

Prof U R Ananthamurthy might have been suffering from ill-health in the recent times, but that had not deterred him from penning ‘Hindutva or Hind Swaraj?,’ a book depicting what he saw as a threat to the country’s cultural plurality in the wake of rise of Moditva.

The Jnanapith award winner, who was an ardent critic of right-wing ideology, had opposed Narendra Modi tooth and nail. He had gone to the extent of saying that he would not like to stay in the country if Modi becomes the prime minister, triggering a huge controversy during 2014 parliamentary elections. The BJP leaders had come down heavily on him for his comments. 

URA, as he was widely known, had been researching about Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevaka Sangha (RSS), and Gandhi’s concept of Swaraj for quite some time. And he, in his book, has juxtaposed Savarkar’s Hindutva ideology with Gandhi’s Swaraj. The book of about 75 pages has a direct reference to Modi, his style of electioneering and analyses how he rose to become a leader using Hindutva ideology.

According to his associates, only the author’s note was pending. He was planning to complete it as soon as he recovered from his illness. Abhinava Prakashana is said to be publishing the book. 

Kannada critic S R Vijayshankar, who was in the close circles of the writer, said URA had given him a draft copy of the book seeking his opinion. URA had been expressing concerns over the threat to the core values of India’s cultural plurality.

He was of the strong view that dictatorial approach would cause a biggest threat to the nation. The 2002 Godhra carnage was his frightening memory. The book has been written keeping all these things in mind, he explained.

Re-interpreting Gandhi

URA was keen on writing more about Gandhi. He was discussing about his interest in re-interpreting Gandhi’s ideology. He wanted to show the relevance of Gandhi in the globalised world. He had shared his views in this regard, Kannada critic K Phaniraj said. 

Another Kannada writer Dr Asha Devi recalled the eagerness of URA to write about Gandhi. “It is one of his unfulfilled wishes to write about Gandhi. He often used to discuss this. He wanted to write a lot, but he was unable to do so because of ill-health,” she said. 

Translation of his memoir, Suragi, in English is his other unfulfilled dream. The translation is currently underway, Vijayashankar said.

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