One of India’s most courageous writers, UR Ananthamurthy, today died at a hospital in Bangalore. He was undergoing treatment for kidney failure.
The 82-year-old, who was Jnanpith awardee and renowned Kannada writer, was hospitalised for infection and fever 10 days ago.
An educator, writer, and commentator second to none, Ananthamurthy was a new voice in Kannada literature – part of the Navya movement. His novel Samskara questioned established caste conventions and caused controversy when it was published in the 1960s as it was strongly critical of Brahmin conventions.
Ananthamurthy was a staunch critic of the Sangh Parivaar. He had created a stir a few months ago when he said that he would not like to live in an India under Narendra Modi. Modi was then seeking to lead BJP to power in the parliamentary elections. The news of his death was greeted with fire crackers in some parts of Karnataka. Ironically, the Prime Minister Modi gracefully tweeted on the writer’s death: “Shri UR Ananthamurthy’s demise is a loss to Kannada literature. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace.”
“I felt completely broken when U.R. Ananthamurthy passed away on Friday evening,” said Shiv Viswanathan in a tribute in The Hindu. It was as if a cosmos had collapsed, a way of life had disappeared. It was not the achievements of the man as a writer and a public intellectual, but the man himself as an achievement that mattered.
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