Cricket historian, writer, and commentator Ramachandra Guha in response to a tweet, said this:
U R Ananthamurthy has made no bones about his being an arch Communist in his heydays. He was in fact part of the Communist intellectuals/academics team that was invited to China. He was also associated with the Ram Manohar Lohia brand of socialism for a number of years. After the fall of the USSR, and especially after Communism became an ugly word, he resorted to calling himself a socialist.
As for Guha's claim that URA was a lifelong anti-Congressman, the more accurate description would be to call him a lifelong BJP/RSS/Sangh Parivar-hater. Almost every award, powerful position, and freebies (land, Government-funded housing, etc) that he has received has been bestowed by the Congress.
More recently, here are some events which puncture Guha's claim about URA:
- In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, U R Ananthamurthy openly requested both the Congress party and the Janata Dal (Secular) to support his candidature.
- In 2006, he lobbied relentlessly to get elected to the Rajya Sabha. The parties and people he courted includes the Congress, MLA Vatal Nagaraj (a Kannada activist), Siddaramaiah (the current Karnataka Chief Minister), and some rebel JD(S) MLAs.
- In November 2008, he shared the dais with JD(S) honcho H.D. Deve Gowda and called for an alliance of “secular parties” to defeat the BJP which had just come to power. JD(S) had shared power with the selfsame Congress between 2004–2006 in Karnataka.
- Post the 2013 Karnataka Assembly polls in which the Congress won, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, formed an advisory think tank, which includes U R Ananthamurthy
- And just three days ago, on 23 September 2013, Ananthamurthy thundered thus: “Congress is like a Ganga, which never dries up and hence creativity is possible. May be, all the muck flows into Ganga, but it is still flowing and we can hope for new waters to flow in. Congress is the only party with a memory.”
Either Ramachandra Guha assumes his readers to be ignorant and/or ill-informed or he himself displays one or both of these traits. Going by Guha's credentials of scholarship and reputation as an academic and (of late) historian, one finds it hard to believe that he's ignorant or ill-informed. Indeed, Guha is the man who wrote a laudatory piece on URA peppered with personal anecdotes about the novelist's life.
That leaves us with no alternative except to call Ram Guha an incorrigible liar.
Sandeep Balakrishna is a columnist and author of Tipu Sultan: the Tyrant of Mysore. He has translated S.L. Bhyrappa’s “Aavarana: the Veil” from Kannada to English.