With a video of her bowing to right-wing leader Sambhaji Bhide going viral on social media, author and philanthropist Sudha Murthy said on Wednesday, saying she did not know who he was but showed him respect because he is an old man, news agency PTI reported. The video showed Murthy, who is also Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy’s wife and Britain PM Rishi Sunak’s mother-in-law, touching Bhide’s feet at a gathering in western Maharashtra’s Sangli, and it had evoked sharp reactions.
Speaking to reporters during her tour to Sindhudurg district, she referred to the issue and said: “I don’t know about his personal views. He is an elderly person, an old man. It is our tradition to touch the feet of an elderly person.”
Murthy said Bhide had asked for her appointment but she told him that she was busy.
“I do not know about his views or counter views (about him). I didn’t speak anything about it (his views). He asked for my appointment, I said I was busy. He said at least in February or March we will try to meet. I don’t know anything about him,” she said, as quoted by PTI.
Sudha Murthy was in Sangli on Monday to interact with her readers at a promotional event for her books, many of which have been translated into Marathi.
Bhide 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.
Quoting a functionary of Bhide’s Shiv Pratishthan outfit, the PTI report said the right-wing leader had 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 of Sudha Murthy said the author was not aware who he was and touched his feet out of respect for a senior citizen, the report added.