iconimg Monday, August 03, 2015

Sudipto Mondal, Hindustan Times
Bangalore, August 23, 2014
Thousands turned up to pay homage to the departed Kannada writer UR Ananthamurthy at the Ravindra Kalakshetra where his remains were kept for public viewing and at Bangalore University's Kalagrama where he was consigned to ashes. His final journey was meticulously planned by the State government and his family, with a keen eye on symbolism.

All faith prayers were conducted at Ravindra Kalakshetra, which sources said, was done to symbolize Ananthamurthy's belief that the public space should remain secular.

The cremation was done as per rituals prescribed by the Madhava Brahmin sect to which Ananthamurthy belonged. Ananthamurthy was not overtly religious but had always held his faith close, sources close to the family explained.

Prior to the cremation, he was given full State honours by the government which has announced three days of official mourning.

Meanwhile, the police in Mangalore and Chikmangalur booked cases against activists of the BJP, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Jagarana Vedike for celebrating the death of the Jnanpith and Padma award winning author who had said that he would leave the country if Narendra Modi became PM.

Dalit and Left groups staged protests in various parts of the State condemning the celebrations.

Sharan Pumpwell, Bajrang Dal state president, told HT, "The celebrations were not organised by us. Some of our sympathizers might have been carried away. As far as our differences with Ananthamurthy are concerned, they were intellectual not personal."

BJP State President Prahlad Joshi refused to react.