Well-known author, philanthropist, and the chairperson of Infosys Foundation Sudha Murthy sparked a controversy when she met Sambhajirao Bhide, a right-wing leader and the founder of Shiv Pratishthan in Sangli, Maharashtra. The Bengaluru-based tycoon was in Sangli where she attended an event and visited her childhood house.
Sudha Murthy bowing to Sambhajirao Bhide
A video showing Sudha Murthy bowing before the leader of a right-wing outfit in Maharashtra has gone viral, prompting sharp reactions.
Sambhaji Bhide, whose feet the wife of Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy is seen touching in the video, was recently served a notice by the State Women’s Commission for refusing to talk to a woman journalist because she had no ‘bindi’ on her forehead.
Bhide had asked the woman journalist to apply ‘bindi’ before speaking to him and not be “like a widow” by not applying the colored dot/sticker on the center of the forehead.
The latest viral video is from Sangli in western Maharashtra, where Sudha Murthy was on Monday to interact with her readers at a promotional event for her books, many of which have been translated into Marathi.
A functionary of Bhide’s Shiv Pratishthan outfit said his leader met Sudha Murthy for help in the installation of a golden throne at Raigad fort, the erstwhile capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
However, an aide to the mother-in-law of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, said the author wasn’t aware who Bhide was and had bowed to him out of respect for a senior citizen.
Sudha Murthy was ‘pressurized’
Some people also claimed that Sudha Murthy was ‘pressurized’ to meet Sambhaji Bhide. A Facebook post by Yojana Yadav, the editorial head of Mehta Publishing House, which organized the Sangli event went viral after the video surfaced. In her post, Yojana Yadav claimed that Sudha Murthy met Sambhaji Bhide at the insistence of the police. Sambhaji Bhide and his supporters arrived at the event without any invitation. But the police requested Murthy to meet Bhide as a large number of supporters of the right-wing leader were waiting outside the auditorium.
“Sudha Murthy had refused to meet anyone but Bhide’s supporters arrived at the event without any invitation. With the presence of a large number of Bhide’s supporters outside the auditorium, the local police came under pressure and requested us to let Bhide meet Murthy, who was then interacting with the readers,” Yadav told PTI adding that she at that time only told Sudha Murthy that the meeting could be used later for propaganda.
जेव्हा सुधा मुर्ती या संभाजी भिडे गुरुजींच्या चरणी नतमस्तक होवून आशीर्वाद घेतात! pic.twitter.com/tm3pr93NWu
— पवन/Pawan 🇮🇳 (@ThePawanUpdates) November 7, 2022
“The pressure was so much that a visibly annoyed Sudha Murthy had to discontinue her interaction with her readers and went out to meet Bhide. She was not aware of who Bhide was, so she asked me his age. She bowed before him out of respect accorded to elders,” she said.
In September this year, Sudha Murthy was in news in a similar controversy after she touched the feet of Promada Devi Wadiyar of Mysuru’s royal family.