Kochi

No regrets: K.S. Bhagavan

Writer K.S. Bhagavan.Photo: H. Vibhu

Writer K.S. Bhagavan.Photo: H. Vibhu  

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Nonchalant in the face of threats, Kannada writer K.S. Bhagavan says the social face of Hinduism smacks of intolerance.

For someone topping the hit list of fundamentalist Hindu forces, Kannada writer K.S. Bhagavan is exceptionally calm and forthcoming.

He doesn’t regret his statement on the sectarian nature of the Bhagavad Gita in February this year which invited threats from reactionary Hindu outfits such as the Bajrang Dal, but forcefully says he has no respect for the Gita for its exclusionism.

“I brought up some stanzas of the Gita before people which clearly categorise all non-Brahmins as sinners. The Gita also says only Brahmins and Khastriyas are virtuous. I asked them if it was true. I was posing a question to which nobody had a rational response to the contrary. So I said I have no respect for the text which excludes the vast majority of non-Brahmins and the women and I wanted to burn those stanzas. I don’t regret it,” the writer, who landed at the airport here accompanied by two bodyguards late on Tuesday night, told The Hindu .

He is due to take part in a cultural meet organised by the Progressive Arts and Literature Organisation and the District Library Council at Tripunithura on Wednesday.

Nonchalant in the face of threats, Mr. Bhagavan says the social face of Hinduism smacks of intolerance. “It’s a religion that has flourished disintegrating people based on the four-fold caste system,” he points out, emphasising that his opposition to the social aspect of Hinduism stems from scientific and rational thinking.

Mr. Bhagavan feels sorry for those threatening to muzzle his voice, saying “they haven’t studied their religion nor have they read my works.”

He had his first brush with controversy when he lambasted Sankaracharya in a work calling him a reactionary and advocate of the decadent caste system.

Only the Upanishads, as they had been written under the supervision of Kshatriyas (kings) had certain kind of sympathy for all sections. This could be because the kings treated their subjects as their children, he said.

The intolerance sweeping the society in the current times is thanks to the erosion of democratic and secular values after secular forces lost their hold over people. “After attaining Independence, they did not try to educate the masses on the drawbacks of religion. There was this euphoria of freedom. Only the communists attempted to do this in a small way. The ignorance of religion by the masses is now being exploited by fundamentalists,” he says.

While independent voices are increasingly under fire, writers like Perumal Murugan shouldn’t have retracted into silence. “What’s there to be scared of if your conviction is based on scientific principles?” he asks.

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Printable version | Sep 15, 2019 1:17:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/no-regrets-ks-bhagavan/article7679600.ece

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