Girish Karnad passed away at his home in Bengaluru on Monday. He was 81.

Lost a crown jewel of Indian art Writers politicians mourn Girish Karnads death
news Death Monday, June 10, 2019 - 10:21

It is the end of an era in Indian cinema and theatre as Jnanpith winner and noted theatre personality, actor and playwright Girish Karnad passed away at his home in Bengaluru on Monday. He was 81. Karnad has written numerous plays in Kannada and is considered one of Kannada literature's foremost playwrights. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy expressed his condolences over the veteran's demise, stating that the country has lost a "cultural ambassador."

Leaders across political parties, authors as well as journalists took to Twitter to express their sorrow at Karnad's passing. President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D Parameshwara, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Karnataka BJP President BS Yeddyurappa and historian Ramchandra Guha were among those who mourned the loss.

Author and politician Shashi Tharoor called Karnad's death a 'devastating loss' and expressed condolences to Karnad's family.

Expressing his condolences, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described Girish Karnad as an artiste who contributed significantly to the growth of the Indian theatre and cinema. 
"He used his artworks and writings against religious fundamentalism and communal decay.  As an artiste, he always fought to safeguard the secular values. And so he was constantly subjected to the threats and violence of communal forces. But he never succumbed to it and instead continued to engage in his art and social work," the CM said.

Several journalists and authors too expressed their sorrow, stating that Indian cinema and theatre will miss the legend.

Girish Karnad was conferred the Padma Shri in 1974 and in 1992, the Indian government awarded Karnad the Padma Bhushan, in recognition of his contributions to the arts. He was the recipient of the Jnanpith Award, India’s highest literary prize, in 1999 for his contributions to literature and theatre.

Girish Karnad wrote his first play, the critically acclaimed Yayati (1961), while still at Oxford. Centred on the story of a mythological king, the play established Karnad’s use of the themes of history and mythology. Karnad’s next play, Tughlaq (1964), tells the story of the 14th-century sultan Muḥammad-ibn-Tughluq and remains among the best known of his works.

The multifaceted author and playwright also hosted a weekly science program on the Doordarshan titled Turning Point. Featuring Indian scientist Yash Pal, the award-winning show explained complex, modern scientific discoveries in simple language.

Even as he aged, he continued to make public appearances at panel discussions and literature festivals to discuss his work. He is survived by his wife Saraswathi, son Raghu Karnad, a journalist and writer and daughter Radha, a doctor based in Kenya.

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