Mysore/Mysuru: Writer and rationalist Prof. K.S. Bhagawan has once again ignited a controversy, this time by asserting that poet laureate Kuvempu had made remarks on Vokkaligas as people lacking in culture and being akin to animals.
Addressing the audience at the ‘Mahisha Utsava’ and ‘Dhamma Deeksha Day’ event held at the Town Hall premises yesterday, Prof. Bhagawan clarified, “I did not make this statement; it was Kuvempu who said it. The poet laureate also declared that he had renounced Hinduism.”
He went on to elaborate, “In Kuvempu’s novel ‘Kanuru Subbamma Heggadathi,’ he depicted the caste system prevalent in rural areas and subtly advocated for its eradication. At the end of the novel, Kuvempu narrated how the protagonist embraced Buddhism on Buddha Jayanti. Kuvempu consistently asserted that he had distanced himself from Hinduism and characterised Vokkaligas as lacking in culture and akin to animals. Unfortunately, Kuvempu’s words and ideas remain misunderstood by many of his followers.”
Prof. Bhagawan, while acknowledging the potential backlash for echoing Kuvempu’s words, emphasised, “If I were to repeat Kuvempu’s statements now, people may come to attack me and even attempt to take my life. However, to speak the truth, one must be prepared to face the consequences.”
Continuing with his controversial statements, the writer remarked, “A Brahmin used to advice a king and conducted rituals like homas and havanas. However, it was Buddha who provided a genuine understanding of the significance of these rituals and the fire within them. Impressed by Buddha’s teachings, many chose to become his disciples.”
He further explained, “Caste distinctions are often based on Janivara (the sacred thread). Wearing the sacred thread assigns one to a specific caste, while not wearing it designates another. This practice is an integral part of Hinduism. It’s important to note that Hinduism is not our religion; our faith is Buddhism. Brahmins are Vedic people who came from another country. For 2,000 years, they refrained from sharing Sanskrit knowledge with others, and all Shudras were relegated to the role of servants to Brahmins. They believe that God created the Shudra to serve Brahmins.”
In his concluding statements, Prof. Bhagawan stated, “While Buddha illuminated society with wisdom and knowledge, Brahmins perpetuated ignorance. If, according to Brahmins, God protects all, then why did God not prevent events like the Coronavirus pandemic? In Hinduism, deities are often placed in dark places within a Temple sanctum sanctorum, but true enlightenment and wisdom were disseminated by Buddha.”