Girish Karnad passes away at 81

Photo: PTI

Veteran playwright, actor and thinker Girish Karnad passed away on Monday after a prolonged illness in Bengaluru. He was 81.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has condoled the demise of Karnad. “Girish Karnad will be remembered for his versatile acting across all mediums. He also spoke passionately on causes dear to him. His works will continue being popular in the years to come. Saddened by his demise. May his soul rest in peace”, the Prime Minister said.

Girish Raghunath Karnad, was a multifaceted personality. His rise as a playwright in the 1960s, marked the coming of age of modern Indian playwriting in Kannada. His TV credits include “Malgudi Days” in which he played Swami’s father and a hosting stint in the science magazine “Turning Point” on Doordarshan in the early 1990s.

He was born in Matheran, in present-day Maharashtra, in 1938. His mother Krishnabai née Mankikar was a young widow with a son, and while training to be a nurse, met Dr. Raghunath Karnad who was a doctor in the Bombay Medical Service. For five years they could not get married because of the prevailing prejudice against widow remarriage. Finally their marriage was sanctified under the dispensation of the Arya Samaj. Girish was the third of the four children born thereafter.

Karnad was a recipient of several prestigious awards in the field of literature, theatre and cinema. He was also bestowed with Sangeet Natak Akademi  (1972), Padma Shri ( 1974), Padma Bhushan (1992), Jnanpith Award  (1998) and Kalidas Samman (1998). He was also presented with a Honorary Doctorate from University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 2011.

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