‘My Hindutva is much more radical than Tully’s'

Soure Express buzz
03 Apr 2010 09:34:59 PM IST
I have been implicitly accused by Neha Tara Mehta of Mail Today, to have written the book Hindutva, Sex & Adventures (Roli Books, 2010), about which she says: “Rarely has a novel got as many tongues wagging in Delhi, especially after a few glasses of wine”.The book narrates the story of a South Asia foreign correspondent, John Luyt, who has dodged bullets in Kashmir, reported on Ayodhya, covered Pakistan and interviewed six Indian prime ministers. However, John veers from a British secular outlook, to a ‘soft’ Hindutva stance, which makes him declare: “I do profoundly believe that India needs to be able to say with pride, yes, our civilisation has a Hindu base to it”. There are also some very explicit ‘tantric’ sex scenes with his partner Imla, an Indian journalist (who is decidedly ‘secular’), which made the Times of India say: “The erotica is deliciously steamy and can vie for the Good Sex award, if there’s one. Highly recommended reading”!The author is hiding behind the pseudonym of John MacLithon. However, there are only five foreign journalists based in India who could have written this book:Mark Tully, of course, BBC’s correspondent for many years, before retiring in Delhi with his partner. Bernard Imhasly, a Swiss, who has covered South Asia for two decades, is married to an Indian and of late has developed an interest in Indian spirituality.John Elliott, three decades here, past president of the Foreign Correspondents Club. Lives in New Delhi and knows everybody.David Housego. Also three decades in India, formerly with Financial Times, known to love Sanskrit and Indian spirituality.François Gautier. Also fits the profile: covered India and South Asia for two decades, a defender of the Hindus.Yet, this book is not at all me, for many reasons: one I cannot write such good English; two, this is a story of a British radio journalist, a medium totally unknown to me; & three, my brand of Hindutva is much more radical than Tully’s.On the other hand, Mark Tully is the most likely candidate. If you read his books between the lines, you will notice that he advocates a Hindu nation; many of the quotes in the book, especially on secularism, are things that Mark said in some of his conferences. He has often been accused of being soft on Hindutva, as Amulya Ganguly, of Hindustan Times points out: “For several years now, the BBC’s Mark Tully has provided indirect support to the BJP’s Hindutva cause. His contention is that secularism is unsuitable for India”. Lastly, ‘Sir’ Mark knows that Hindutva is a dirty word in Sonia Gandhi’s India and that he would have been branded if he had come out openly. Hence he hides behind a pseudonym.This said, Mark Tully, who is a decent man, raises some important points in his book: the legitimacy of Sonia Gandhi, the historical validity of India’s claim on Kashmir, the ruling of British magistrates on Ayodhya, or Husain’s painting Laxmi’s vagina over Hanuman’s tail. Let the readers judge for themselves.— fgautier26@gmail.com

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