New Delhi, Apr 5 (ANI): Former BBC correspondent Sir Mark Tully's reputation has come under a strange attack in the novel 'Hindutva Sex and Adventure', which portrays him as a heartless philanderer and supporter of fanatics.
The novel, which has been written by an unidentified author and released by one of India's leading publishers, centres on a veteran foreign correspondent clearly identifiable as Tully, who was knighted for his journalism in 2002, reports The Telegraph.
It has been reported that there is a plot in the thinly disguised novel there is a plot in which the central character Andrew Luyt seduces a young Indian journalist, has 'tantric' sex with her, but later suggests that the journalist go in for an abortion after she becomes pregnant.
The novel also portrays that Luyt becomes a supporter of the Hindu fundamentalist philosophy, which provoked communal riots throughout India in the early 1990s in which thousands of people were killed.
The character of Andrew Luyt resembles that of Sir Mark Tully, who was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and returns to India as a correspondent after toying with the idea of becoming an Anglican priest.
Sir Mark, who was loved and respected both in Britain and India, had once said he could not have trusted his sexuality to keep the vows.
Like the veteran broadcaster, the character lives with his partner in a smart South Delhi neighbourhood, suffers 'bad legs' and leaves his employer citing 'interference' from management - as Sir Mark resigned from the BBC with an attack on John Birt.
Luyt, a crude anagram of Tully, is also the author of No Commas in South Asia - painfully close to Sir Mark's No Full-Stops in India - and the lifts lines directly from the broadcaster's books.
The release of the novel has angered friends of the broadcaster and brought a firm response from Sir Mark himself.
In a statement released through a friend, he denounced the novel as 'disgraceful'.
"I am amazed that Roli Books should publish such thinly disguised plagiarism, and allow the author to hide in a cavalier manner behind a nom-de-plume," he said.
"The book is clearly modelled on my career, even down to the name of the main character. That character's journalism is abysmal, and his views on Hindutva and Hinduism do not in any way reflect mine. I would disagree with them profoundly," said Sir Mark.
Sir Mark, who reported the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Bhopal gas tragedy and the destruction of the Babri Mosque by Hindu fanatics at Ayodhya, was awarded one India's highest honours, the Padma Bhushan.
Despite his age and infirmity, he remains one of Britain's most popular broadcasters - his Radio Four show 'Something Understood', which focuses on matters of faith, has more than one million listeners.
It has been reported that a veteran French correspondent Francois Gautier, who was suspected of being the author of the book issued a statement last night denying it that he had written the book.
John Elliott, a veteran Delhi correspondent and a long-standing friend of Sir Mark, last night said the book is an 'outrageous misrepresentation' of his life and work.
"Mark Tully is well-known as a thoroughly decent gentleman and one of the finest journalists ever posted to India. This is a badly written book, which should never have passed a lawyer or a ublisher. It totally misrepresents his personal life and his work," added Elliott. (ANI)