A for Ananthamurthy, B for Bhyrappa, C for Controversy, D for Debate…

June 6, 2007

Ananthamurthy can come before Bhyrappa only in the Telephone Directory. Everywhere else, It is Bhyrappa first, and somewhere down the line can Ananthamurthy be seen.

During the Ramayana discourse by Sri KS Narayanacharya, the scholar kept mentioning about Aavarana. He kept saying it was worth a read. But I did not heed his advice till the penultimate day of the 22 day-lecture series.

When I was busy buying some books written by the scholar popularly known as Ramayanacharya, the salesman suggested me to read ‘Aavarana’. After refusing it (reason being I wanted a Paperback and not a Hardcover), I was forced to accept it for FREE for having bought a chunk of KS Narayanacharya’s books. That is how I procured the book, considered today THE No.1 bestseller among Kannada books.

Aavarana, the new novel of S.L.Byrappa, one of the most popular writers in Kannada, is his second historical novel. It is one of the best literary works connected with the history that I have read. The novel adopts a new technique to achieve twin objectives – explore history and expose historians, who are distorting it. The lucid, courageous novel is worth reading for its theme and relevance – if not for its high literary value.

The conflict of truth v/s untruth is a topic of interest for Bhyrappa. He has explored the topic in his previous novel Sakshi at an individual level. Aavarana explores the same problem at the global level. The novel approaches the subject boldly – without yielding to passions. It provides pointers to 104 references from 51 authors – a testimony to the seriousness with which the author has approached the subject. The necessity of the list emerges from the storyline and is not imposed by the author. The list of books that appear in the novel ranges from Babur Nama to Naipaul to Artha Shastra of Kautilya. The novel, in its attempt to discuss the root cause of intolerance, identifies the present day attitudes that are abetting intolerance. For this reason, the subject of the novel is also contemporary.

Within a couple of months of its release, the book was in its Fourth edition. This shows that people are no longer ready to believe the distorted history about the past based on the assumptions of today’s historians. With the demand for the book growing every minute, book lovers have busted the commonly believed myth that “there does not exist a trend of buying and reading Kannada books in Karnataka”. Any good literary work which touches the heart easily sells itself. Readers have taken up the job of advertising and promoting Aavarana, not to mention UR Ananthamurthy’s remarks about SLB and Aavarana that boosted the sales further.

Aavarana is really worth keeping a personal copy and reading it. To quote author NS Rajaram: Of one thing we may be certain: Aavarana will be “cussed and discussed” for a long time to come, to borrow a phrase from Lincoln.

Also read:

20 Responses to “A for Ananthamurthy, B for Bhyrappa, C for Controversy, D for Debate…”

  1. NAREN Says:

    Truth prevails!!!!!! Regarding History, Some of the Facts can be found in couple of Masthi V. Iyengar’s Short Stories.
    Byrappa hails From Poor Family. Studied as Varannadha Huduga and with Great Difficulty he has come up. Today he is well Remembered for his Noble works like Dhatu, Thabbali ninaade magane, Aavarana etc. People like Girish karnad and Ananthamurthy cannot Digest the success of S.L. Byrappa. Ananthamurthy is well known for his Political relations and wants Publicity at the cost of Byrappa.
    We The People are With you S.L. Byrappanavare! Let Byrappa Get Jnanapeetha Award if not Nobel!!!!!

  2. anoop Says:

    I’m about to finish reading bhairappa’s magnum opus – ‘Parva’. After experiencing Mahabharatha as never before, i’m very sure there can be nothing which compares to this novel, in terms of: experiences, complexity of plot and the sheer number of characters. The amazing ease at which he can get under the characters skin and think like them is simply astounding. The reader can experience equally the travails of ‘Kunti’ and the jealousy of ‘Duryodhan’. That is Bhairappa.

    Avarana: from what i have heard and understood, its the controversy behind the book which is fueling the extra-ordinary sales of this book. Even otherwise i do not have a trace of doubt that this is a book which is meant to be read. I’m just waiting for the euphoria to die down so that i can start reading the book with my slow pace – which is very distinctive while reading all bhairappa novels.

  3. Ram Says:

    Good post. I read Avarana and found nothing objectionable in it. In fact, it should be read by all sensible people so that manipulation of history can be avoided. I have also read the comments as well as heard speech by URA (courtesy thatskannada.com). I felt a tone of jealousy in URA’s speech. I feel URA should have restricted himself to comments on Avarana instead of personally attacking SLB

  4. Mysorean Says:

    Hmmm… will read it and let you know.

  5. Mayura Says:

    Good post. URA has been traditionally known to hobnob with people in power and get favours from them. A person like him passing judgement on SLB and calling him names is just a laughable matter. Recently he had also accused NRN of infosys on some flimsy pretext. It is a little known information that his son Sharat got admission for his MS due to URA’s clout, URA himself got a site allotted in dollars colony due to JH patels help. This reminds of a popular kannada proverb…”Achara Heloke, Badanekai Tinnoke”. URA is very good at it. His hobnobbing with Pejawara Swamiji while posing as a atheist and socialist is well known. All in all he is a hypcrite who has only survived by his political links and lacks any literary achievements and did not deserve the Jnanapitha award.

    It is not surprising that URA was accompanied by the usual gang of idiots like GK Govinda Rao, Devanur Mahadeva, Gowri Lankesh to carry out the diatribe against SLB.


  6. decemberstud Says:

    Your summary says it all, as far as the controversy goes….telephone directory, huh? You think he visits your blog? 😉

  7. Sreenivasarao s Says:

    Aavarana by Shri SLB
    (About truth and reconciliation)

    1. The novel is structured in two levels. The story of Lakshmi aka Razia is employed as a mechanism ( a tantra) , as a shell , to encase a narration concerning the Islamic conquest and (mis)rule in India during 17th century as also the consequences the Hindu community, their religion , culture and living had to endure. The story within the story is the meat of the novel.

    2. The persecution of Hindus, the destruction of their religion, the desecration of the places of their worship, vandalism of their idols, forcible conversions to Islam and the ruthless cruelty associated with the process were carried out openly and deliberately as an instrument of the State policy in furtherance of Islam in India. It was not a covert operation. The state appointed scribes; the self appointed Islamic clerics wrote about the destruction and vandalism with pride and hailed them as heroic steps to fulfill their religious duty which calls upon them to ensure victory of Islam over pagan religions. These writings were given wide publicity as well. In short, the series of Muslim rulers openly resorted to ruthless measures to propagate Islam and suppress Hinduism, as they considered it as an act of religious piety. There were no hold backs and no apologies. This is a fact of history.

    3. The problem that has come about in the recent times is either one of sophistry or of hard headed stubbornness. It is to step aside the issue in order to either mislead or deny its occurrence, or otherwise to fanatically defend it. In either case it emphasizes a marked dislike to acknowledge a fact as a fact.

    Perhaps these forced stances were necessitated by compulsions that arise out of a deep rooted anxiety /longing for political survival or by flair to appear progressive and secular and therefore be acceptable to those that matter. The other extreme is of course because of inheritance of wounded pride coupled with a need to look for a reassuring safe haven in the distant past. There will always be, in any situation, another group that loves to nurture imagined malice.

    4. The purport of the book, as I understand, is that all of us do make mistakes. It is no big deal. It is wiser to look at a fact as a fact, draw lessons and carry on with your life .It is naive to pretend that the event never occurred. It is worse to defend a wrong instead of letting it go .These snare you into a time wrap and distance you from reality. You would be a prisoner of a past that has gone by or be condemned to live in delusion.

    5. The protagonist of the novel could not find a publisher and could only print about 1000 copies of the book of which about 600 copies were confiscated by the police. I am delighted the author – SLB – is in a far happier position. I understand the book has gone into several editions within a couple of months of its publication. It is good for Kannada too.

    6. what is more important is to have a healthy, dispassionate and a wholesome discussion on the core issue of the book…Search for truth and reconciliation and not be dragged into endless exchange of epithets.
    This surely should benefit all of us.

  8. bachodi Says:

    Wonderful post sir. Thanks for the link.
    I am with DS on this. “there is a Karanth, there is a Masti, there is a Bhyrappa, and then the rest of you”

  9. Raghu Says:


    I am eager to read Byrappa’s books but I can’t read Kannada.

    Are there any English/Telugu Transklations?

  10. K.R. Garudadhwajan Says:

    URA is a full time politician. We will be demeaning ourselves if we take his comments seriously.

  11. Raghu,
    Bhairappa’s books, all of them have been translated to 14 languages, including Telugu. Just confirm this with a good book store near you 🙂

  12. vrika Says:

    Check this link for some review:

  13. Sathya Says:

    sathyavannu oppikoLLuvudu yaavagalo kashTa. SuLLannu nooru thara heLabahudu, bareyabahudu, aadare sathyakke onde maarga. SLB aa kelasa maaDiddaare. SuLLina aavaraNagaLannella kaLachuva kelasa maaDiddaare. Govt. sponsored history bere, nijavaada ithihaasa bere…Vote onde politiciangaLa guri. So_called intellectuals maaDuva kelasa yenu? Janarannu moorkharendu bhaavisi thappu daarige yeLeyalu prayathnisuvudu. Idu thumba dina saadhyavilla. Yedurige kuLithiruvavaru BhashaNa keLi chappaLe hoDeyabahudu, aadare ii bogaLegaLa sattva yenu yembudu janakke gottu. Karnataka/Kannada inthavarinda saakashTu thondarege oLagaagide. Akhila Bhaaratha Raajakiya Prothsaahitha janapriyathe bere, sathyashodhanegaagi baayi muchichikonDu kelasa maaDuvudu bere.

  14. Master Genius Says:

    UR Ananthamurthy is Master Genius Of Karnataka

  15. Vish Gatt Says:

    Folks, I read Avarana almost four times, still I am searching something more within the Novel, what a master piece “Avarana” is, perhaps best books I ever read in my life.

  16. indu Kumar Says:

    Friends, i am reading avarana for the third time, i am really stunned to read this, why have we allowed our historians to tell us lie regarding islam, Avarana ia an eye opener, thanks Mr. Byrappa.



  18. Gopinath Says:

    Everybody knows how these so called seculars are misleading the literati.If these people are so great then they have to be more popular than SLB and they will never be.They are well known for their views which contradict real history.

  19. AC Says:

    Reading your review is enough to see the amount of hate Bhyrappa is spewing.

    Bhyrappa is not searching for the truth, rather he intends to spread poison and communal hatred, which God forbid, will result in yet another genocide of Muslims similar to what happened in Gujarat in 2002.

    If Bhyrappa is to write about something, he should talk about the oppression and suffering of the lower caste hindus by brahmins, like Bhyrappa, for centuries.

    It is preposterous for a person who worships idols with elephant heads and private body parts of ‘gods’, to be calling any other religion as shallow.

    If not for sane people like Ananthamurthy, the Bhyrappas and Arun Shouries would have poisoned the entire population.

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