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Noted Kannada writer U R Ananthamurthy is dead

Eminent writer and doyen of Kannada literature Jnanapith awardee Udupi Rajagopalacharya Ananthamurthy, 82, passed away at Manipal hospital here this evening. He was admitted to the hospital about 10 days ago for infection and fever and was put on multi-support system. He was also suffering from kidney disorder for the past two years.

Murthy’s condition deteriorated on Friday and the multi-support system did not yield positive result and he breathed his last this evening. He is survived by his wife Esther, a son and a daughter.

Ananthamurthy was known for his advocacy of social responsibility of writers and literary people. He always responded to public causes and issues of public interest during his lifetime. He had also developed special qualities of analyzing various subjects from different angles and he had special love and affection towards young writers.

He was born on December 1, 1932 at Melige village of Thirthahalli taluk in Shimoga district.

In his long literary career, Ananthamurthy has won many awards and accolades for his writing. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1998, Jnanpith award in 1994 and the state Rajyothsava award in 1984. His nomination for the 2013 Man Booker International Prize brought him international fame. He was also the Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala during the late 1980s. He was Chairman of National Book Trust, Delhi in the early 1990s.

His famous literary works are Samskara, Bhava, Bharathi Pura, Bara (Drought) and Avasthe. Many of his works have been made into movies. Famous among them are Samskara, which was brought onto the silver screen by Girish Karnad. His another famous novel Ghatashradha was also made into a movie.

He has also written a number of short stories. He was closely associated with Magasaysay awardee late K V Subbanna and had conducted a number of theatre and literary workshops at Heggodu in Shimoga district.

He was awarded with the most prestigious Indian literary award Jnanapith in 1994 for his overall contribution to Kannada literature.

During the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, Ananthamurthy kicked up a controversy for his remarks that he would not stay in a country if Narendra Modi becomes Prime Minister. Post elections, BJP workers had sent him a ticket to Pakistan and asked him to leave the country. His statement was criticised by many and the state government had to provide him special security at his residence fearing backlash from BJP supporters.

Ananthamurthy also contested Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and Rajya Sabha elections in 2006 unsuccessfully from Karnataka.

He also edited a literary magazine Rujuvathu.

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, JD-S leader H D Kumaraswamy, IT minister S R Patil, Union minister H N Ananthakumar and a host of literary persons among others have condoled the death of Ananthamurthy.

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