In a press note, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said that with the passing of Ki Ra, who died in Puducherry on May 17, Tamil language has lost an important storyteller.

Last rites of legendary Tamil writer Ki Ra to be held with state honoursScreengrab from ILA Post/Youtube
news Funeral Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 13:39

Renowned Tamil writer and folklorist Ki Rajanarayanan passed away in Puducherry on May 17. The Tamil Nadu government announced that his last rites will be held with state honours on Tuesday. The writer, who was 98 at the time of his passing, will be taken to Idaiseval near Kovilpatti, his place of birth, where his last rites will be held.

In a press note, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said that with Ki Ra’s passing Tamil language has lost an important storyteller. “Mother Tamil has lost one of her identities. Who is to console? As long as this land exists, as long as Karisal (fertile, rain-fed land) literature exists, why as long as Tamil exists, his fame will live in our hearts,” reads the note.

“Alas, the music of that Karisal Koel has stopped. He has not died; he lives as letters. He lives, merged with our lives. Long live his fame! I express my heartfelt condolences to his families, to literary writers, readers and to Tamil people,” the note adds.

The Sahitya Akademi awardee, popularly known as Ki Ra, passed away late on Monday night in Puducherry, where he was being treated for age-related ailments. Only in February this year, a compilation of his short stories that had thus far not made to print were published. Titled Mitcha Kathaigal (Remaining Stories), the book was launched at an event in Coimbatore, which was attended by writers such as Jeyamohan and Nanjil Nadan.

Only recently, Ki Ra was honoured by Tamil Nadu with the U Ve Sa Award, which was received on his behalf by his son.

The writer, who is revered by Tamil readers for his detailed and brilliant stories, was diagnosed with tuberculosis as a child and by self-admission was told that he wouldn’t live long.

In one of his last interviews, given to Vikatan Tamil just a few months ago, Ki Ra spoke on various topics from the coronavirus pandemic and the impact of loneliness that comes with being under lockdown. He had said, “What is loneliness for someone who knows music… For someone who knows how to write, how to read, there is no loneliness.”