Narendra Modi reminds me of Mussolini, Hitler: U R Ananthamurthy


Bengaluru:  Jnanpith laureate Dr U.R. Ana­n­thamurthy, who is in the eye of a controversy for his remarks against BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Naren­dra Modi, says he has no option but to oppose the Chief Minister of Gujarat because his name evokes the same feeling as that of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
Interacting with reporters here on Tuesday, he said: “If you cannot respond to violence immediately you never will. Violence after the Partition, the Sikh riots and the Gujarat carnage are all the same as the persons, who were responsible for them, carried out mass violence in a tactful manner. They made violence appear spontaneous so that no one gets punished. So, the debate is not about which party. It’s about growing a heart and state of mind to oppose violence. Modi is a fascist and is treading the path of destructive politics, and his development is about making the Tatas and a few corporates bigger.”
Declaring that he was hurt to see reactions in the media to his recent statements on the BJP leader, the litterateur said: “Modi is in a hurry to become PM and has forgotten that this is no presidential system. Modi is holding conferences with retired army officers, and what next? India will get over with it (Modi wave). He will not succeed. Modi is younger than Advani. Advani was any day better as I still remember that he got votes but preferred that Vajpayee become the Prime Minister.”     ‘We need a Bheeshma’ 
Ananthamurthy who was in the midst of controversy for his remarks on Narendra Modi, seems disenchanted over lack of good leaders in India. During a Meet the press programme organised by Press Club of Bangalore, Ananthamurthy was posed the question-Does India have a choice?
"We have no leaders like Patel, Nehru or Ambedkar. Even the idea of development is flawed. A development-oriented society breeds corruption. It is time for creative politics and not Modi's destructive politics," says Ananthamurthy, adding that Indian politics today needs Bheeshma's wisdom and political acumen.
"What we need is ‘sarvodaya' (empowerment) and not development. Development can destroy life and nation. A government should work towards giving people ‘Nemmadi' (contentment) and not ‘Sukha' (happiness) as there is no limit to the pursuit of happiness. Creative politics brings change."
"When Dewan of Mysore Mirza Ismail introduced purdah in tongas in Mysore, it helped boost girls' education. The then Tamil Nadu CM M.G. Ramachandran's midday meal scheme or distribution of blankets was  laughed at. But the schemes told the people untouched by the state that government existed. It is politics of presence.  If you ask me if cheaper rice to the marginalized makes sense, it does.  Our people are poor but not lethargic. The government should continue to provide as India has people who are needy, who seek and who are not disillusioned like others," he said.
He adds that not just India but even the US and Europe should focus on upliftment of all. "Poverty and dejection plague people across the world. How else do you explain violence, depression and divorces? Development destroys man and the planet. IT brought destruction to Bengaluru. I recall a talk I had with Narayana Murthy(Infosys founder). I wished he paid his engineers a little more than a lecturer as smaller salaries leave scope for quest for knowledge," says Ananthamurthy.
Who can resolve the mess created by the Congress led UPA in the last two terms? Not Manmohan Singh or even Barack Obama, says Ananthamurthy adding, "America cannot imagine selling a stitched shirt outside without outsourcing. It's good at selling only warfare. To think, a great civilization has come to be passé. Gandhi's ideals (self dependence) are relevant now more than ever and America needs it the most."
So, is the Congress his obvious choice? "I grew up in non-Congress politics. But I prefer the Congress," says Ananthamurthy citing a poem by Gopalakrishna Adiga on Ganga as a river that never goes dry. "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. So I believe there is scope for many possibilities. What I feel is that you don't need a genius to become PM but someone honest. It is alarming to see smaller parties wrest power and loot the country's wealth - land and minerals."
On second thought, he adds, "I am not on anybody's side. It is strange. In the past, you had to be  pro-Soviet Union or Pro-America. And today, we are labeled as pro-Congress or BJP when we speak our mind."
 Is Modi only as Gujarat CM acceptable to him? The writer feels they have nothing in common. "I don't know if Modi shares my interest in music, books and women," wondered Ananthamurthy adding, "I am happy for Modi as he belongs to a backward community and is aspiring to be PM. This speaks of a revolution India is witnessing. We dreamt of this and today  Modi, Moily and Siddaramaiah have made it big".

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