Dr. U.R. Ananthamurthy Makes Controversial Claims

Posted on December 10, 2013 by



U.R. Ananthamurthy, a world-renowned author and winner of the Jnanpith Award, the most prestigious literary award in India, was recently quoted in saying that Hindu leaders should read Hindu scriptures thoroughly so they may find several instances in which Brahmins have eaten meat throughout history. Ananthamurthy, a Brahmin himself, gave sources, including Alasingacharya’s Mahabharata, that support his claims showing several instances of Brahmins consuming meat. He also acknowledged that there are sources that support the argument that opposes his which states that Brahmins have never eaten meat throughout history.

Jnanpith award recipient U.R. Ananthamurthy. File Photo: K. Murali KumarJnanapith Award winner Dr. Udupi Rajagopalachar Ananthamurthy

Three sources have been selected that discuss this topic. The three are similar in their main idea, but different in the way they portray this idea.

Main Points:



          What’s Religious?

These sources and this issue are religious for many reasons. Ananthamurthy’s claims are obviously religious because he is directly instructing Brahmins, who are Hindu religious leaders, to read religious texts (the Vedas) so they may find ample evidence suggesting that Brahmins ate meat during Vedic times and throughout history. Sources one and two talk about Ananthamurthy also using religious texts to support his argument, giving the situation further religious affiliation. Source three talks about a group of religious leaders gathering to discuss Ananthamurthy in a negative light. Overall, the presence of religious texts and figures littering these reports give this issue inherent religious association.

      Argument Basis

When learning about an issue through the news, it is necessary to assess the credibility of each source in order to decide what to believe and take away from each one. The first source gains much credibility because the piece comes from a direct interview with Anathamurthy himself with some exact quotes. Unfortunately, the author uses this interview to ask some questions that clearly show his opinion on Ananthamurthy, which it turns out is a negative one. With this heavy presence of opinion, the credibility he previously gained is, to me, eliminated because the a author is biased on the issue and therefore the reader doesn’t know which parts of the writing are guided by opinion and which aren’t. Source two is less opinionated because the author never explicitly gives opinion on the issue; he or she only reports the news. The only opinion present in this source can be seen in its title, where the author lists several things that Ananthamurthy has done recently that have offended people seemingly to put him in a negative light right from the beginning of the piece. This is not necessarily the case, but the tone of the piece suggests it is. Overall, the author has a fair amount of credibility in this report. The third piece has the most credibility because it is simply a presentation of an aspect of this issue with zero opinion present, giving readers a clear-cut sense of the main idea with no bias present.

        How is Ananthamurthy Portrayed?

The opinion that is present in a few of these sources shows a general anger towards Ananthamurhty for his claims. The author of source one is noticeably upset with Ananthamurthy for making these claims. His opinion can be seen in his statement/question to Ananthamurthy “But your critics are demanding corroborative proof…” and his question “What do you want to say to those who are hurt by your statement?” The tone of these two questions, along with the general tone of the interview, shows the authors dislike for Ananthamurthy and portrays him negatively. The reader is more apt to think poorly of Ananthamurthy because of this negative portrayal. In source two the author also seems to think poorly of Ananthamurthy, but he or she hides it somewhat well. In the title, several things are listed, as said before, that give the reader a sense that Ananthamurthy has done many things wrong and is thus to be disrespected or his actions criticized. Besides this, the author talks about these things throughout the piece simply reporting them without opinion, but because he or she starts the report off that way, the reader is led to think poorly of Ananthamurthy and his actions throughout the entire piece. The title sets the tone for the report, so to speak. The third piece is void of this opinionated negative portrayal of Ananthamurthy, as said before. The author simply reports the story, leaving it up to the reader to decide whether they should dislike Ananthamurthy and his actions.

      Offensive Because…

The three sources also all make it clear that Ananthamurthy’s claims are offensive to certain people but they give different reasons for them being offensive. Source one argues that people, most likely but not necessarily Hindus, are offended by his claims because he doesn’t have significant proof to back them up. The reader can obviously infer that lay Hindu people and officials would be offended by these claims because they challenge the longstanding religious tradition present in Hinduism of Brahmins not eating meat, but in this analysis this inference is of no concern because the authors don’t explicitly bring up this historical side of the issue. Source two presents the argument that the higher up religious officials are angry and offended by the claims because Ananthamurthy was disrespectful and accusing in telling them to go read the religious texts that they are obviously already familiar with as religious officials. Again, the author doesn’t mention anything about the inherent offensiveness of Ananthamurthy’s claims, so we are not concerned with them. In the last source, the author shows that lay people and officials are offended by Ananthamurthy’s claims but does not give a specific reason why, only that they are for some reason inherently offensive.

       How Are The People Reacting?

All of the sources show that people are obviously upset over this issue, but each gives a differing magnitude of this hurt. Source two claims that higher up religious officials and supporters of these officials are furious over Ananthamurthy’s comments. This is a mild reaction compared to the portrayal that the authors of sources one and three give for the reactions of the people. Source three states that the group of Brahmins that gathered to discuss Ananthamurthy’s claims are outraged to the point of condemning him. Even more extreme, though, is the first source, going so far to say that people are so upset over this issue that they are even demanding legal recourse for Ananthamurthy for his claims. The sources are clearly in agreement that Ananthamurthy’s claims have upset many people, but they present different degrees of how upset these people are.

Wrap Up



1.Khajane, Muralidhara. “We must be honest to say Hinduism slowly accepted Ahimsa propagated by Buddha and Jain saints: Ananthamurthy.” The Hindu. 03 Oct 2013. Web. <http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/we-must-be-honest-to-say-hinduism-slowly-accepted-ahimsa-propagated-by-buddha-and-jain-saints-ananthamurthy/article5196528.ece&gt;.

2.Unknown Author. “Kannada writer UR Ananthamurthy ups the ante against Narendra Modi, asks Gujarat CM to read Hindu scriptures, alleges Brahmins ate beef and sacrificed cows.” Daily Bhaskar. N.p., 25 Sept 2013. Web. <http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/NAT-TOP-kannada-writer-ur-ananthamurthy-ups-the-ante-against-narendra-modi-asks-gujarat–4385507-NOR.html&gt;.

3.Unknown Author. “Mangalore: Dr Ananthamurth’ys Statement on Brahmins’ Meat Consumption Condemned.” Mangalorean. N.p., 26 Sept 2013. Web. <http://www.mangalorean.com/news.php?newsid=427323&newstype=local&gt;.

Posted in: Hinduism