Mangalore, Sep 26, 2014: Responding to a question raised at an interaction with U R Anathamurthy’s family, as a part of the programme ‘Remembering URA,’ organised by the English Association and Kannada Sangha of University College at Ravindra Kala Bhavan on September 25; URA’s daughter Anuradha Ananthamurthy expressed that the Jnanpith awardee and Litterateur late U R Ananthamurthy was deeply hurt at the ways in which he was personally attacked for his political and religious comments during last one year. Though he did not let those derogatory remarks affect him to a great extent, he was disturbed and seemed helpless at times.
“Criticism was not new to him or to his family. But then, attacks were on an intellectual ground in the past which he readily accepted, where as it stooped into to a personal level in the recent years. Whenever we used to insist to stop commenting, he would justify with a hope that young people who swear at him will eventually change,” she said.
Anuradha disclosed that the family has been receiving letters and emails abusing Ananthamurthy even after his death. “We have received several abusive letters from people of Dakshina Kannada too,” she said.
Reacting to a query, URA’s wife Esther Ananthamurthy justified his statement on Narendra Modi becoming the PM. “URA did not say that he will leave India if Modi becomes the prime minister, but he had stated that he does not wish to live in the country if Modi is elected as the PM. As a citizen of this country he was free to express his opinion on Modi or others too,” she said.
Recalling the good old days, Esther said that marrying Ananthamurthy opened up a new world to her. “The house was filled with his students, friends and guests all the time. It helped me to evolve as a person. It was worthwhile spending my life with him,” she said.
Describing some of the lesser known traits of her father, Anuradha said that Ananthamurthy used to shut himself and write whenever he was working on a novel or stories. People in his inner circle were all youngsters and he always wanted to stay connected to them. Despite aging, he was technology savy and learnt the operation of computer and latest phones with a child like enthusiasm. “He was not just a father to me and my brother, but to several other youngsters around,” she said.
On last rites : Responding to the criticisms surrounding Ananthamurthy’s last rites which were carried out in Madhwa Brahmin tradition, Anuradha said that it was purely the family’s choice. “He was never a non-religious man, rather he respected all religions.” “He had reverence towards Vaidik system though he criticised some of the superstitious practices in it. There was no confusion in his beliefs. He was clear in his thought and was spiritual in nature. We conducted his last rites in the way which would have made him happy and as he would have wanted,” she said.
Journalist Deepa Ganesh who has translated several works of URA, said that sifting through the layers of emotions of his works was the toughest part of the translation.