On Monday, a celebrated actor, filmmaker, and Playwright Girish Karnad died at the age of 81-years after a prolonged illness. Mr. Karnad took his last breath at 6:30 am at a hospital in Bengaluru, informed his family members.

Popular for a critically-acclaimed body of work, including plays like “Hayavadana”, “Yayati”, and “Tughlaq”, which were written in Kannada and then translated to English, his plays often reflects the issue of stirred debate and contemporary society.

Mr. Karnad was also a political and social activist, used his literary skills and became popular, with a platform to defend freedom of expression and fight religious fundamentalism. Despite receiving numerous death threats, Girish Karnad has never moved back from expressing his views.

In April, he was among 200 writers who put up an open letter against the “politics of hate”.

In September 2018, Mr. Karnad was charged for holding a notice that reads, “Me Too Urban Naxal” at a function to mark a year of journalist Gaur Lankesh’s murder. He had further shown protest against the house arrest of five social workers, who were linked with Maoists.

In 1974, Girish Karnad was awarded Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan in 1992. Known as a gifted litterateur, he was awarded Jnanpith Award in 1998.  

Girish Karnad was born in Mumbai on May 19, 1938. He was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, where he wrote the first play – “Yayati” in 1961. Other popular plays written by him are – “Tughlaq” (1964), and “Hayavadana” (1972).

He was also popular in the world of cinema, made screenwriting and acting debut in a Kannada movie in 1970, “Samskara”.

Many tweets to express condolences at the news of his death, including author Amitav Ghosh. His Twitter post reads:

Legendary Theatre Actor Girish Karnad Dies At 81 / tnbclive.in

Former Karnataka Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda tweets in Kannada, saying: “The news of the death of Jnanpith Awardee, senior theater artist Dr. Girish Karnad, was revealed. His contribution to the Saraswat world is vast. Let us pray to the Lord that peace be to the soul.”

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