U.R. Ananthamurthy, who died on Friday, wrote till the very end. His last work, an extended political essay, Hindutva Athava Hind Swaraj? , will be published posthumously.
But, his dream of writing one more novel never bore fruit. J.N. Tejashree, a writer and an associate of Dr. Ananthamurthy, said he was moved when a patient in the bed next to him died the last time he was admitted to hospital, and was planning a novel on the theme of death.
The book on Hindutva politics, which is ready for publication, deals with the rise of communalism in India that had occupied him deeply in his latter years. He had told some of his close friends that the book might even be banned. But that did not deter him from writing it. It juxtaposed Hindutva ideology with the idea of Hind Swaraj of Mahatma Gandhi. “Dr. Ananthamurthy, who had resorted to dictating his writings to his close associates owing to his failing health, went back to the desk one last time to write this essay in long hand,” said N. Ravikumar of Abhinava Pustaka , which is to publish the book. The main body of the book was the nearly 80-page essay. “The only thing that remained to be done was a forward by him,” said writer and journalist N.A.M. Ismail. The book will also include an old essay by him on Douglas Lummis. Ms. Tejashree recalled that he had summoned his son-in-law and writer Vivek Shanbhag to his hospital bed a few days before his death and asked him to take down a new paragraph to be included in the book.