The Jnanpith Award-winning Kannada writer U.R. Anantha Murthy completed 75 years of age yesterday. At an interaction held at the Central College in Bangalore, he articulated his position on a range of contemporary issues.
# A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is a good, humane and capable man. But it is not right to say that he is so despite being a Muslim. That despite being a Muslim he sings bhajans, listens to music, and eats idlis not mutton.
# The Muslim community would be lost if Muslims become communal but the entire country would be lost if Hindus become communal.
# Pejawar mutt seer Vishwesha Thirtha swamiji should declare that any person, including a dalit, would be allowed to perform pooja to Lord Krishna on becoming a swamiji but not a person who has visited the United States. Such a step would be welcome as India is becoming a “victim” of Americanisation.
# In democratic politics, there were always opponents but nowadays there are only enemies, which is evident from the language and conduct of the politicians. Voting should be made compulsory and there should be a penalty for non-voting.
# The entry of former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy into politics was a move for the benefit of the family but that was not the case with Rajiv Gandhi’s entry into politics, though initially I had thought so.
# The mining lobby has overtaken all other lobbies, like liquor and education and mine owners have become powerful persons in politics. Export of ores should be stopped immediately; government should produce steel and other products locally using ores.
# The UPA and West Bengal governments should be ashamed of the way in which they are treating Taslima Nasreen. One can agree, disagree or criticise her for her writings and thoughts, but nobody has right to harass her in this manner.
# From the days of partition, through the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and till the recent Gujarat riots, people who indulged in mass violence have gone unpunished. Now the people know that they can escape from law when they indulge in mass violence.
# George Fernandes was someone I liked, but when he said the Americans were behind the killing of a Christian priest in Gujarat, I lost all respect for him.