Indian actor and playwright Girish Karnad dies aged 81
The Kannada writer received the Jnanpith Award in 1998 in recognition of his services to Indian literature
Girish Karnad, a top Indian playwright, actor, director and human rights activist, has died at the age of 81 in Bengaluru after a prolonged illness.
Karnad, who received the Jnanpith Award in 1998 in recognition of his contribution to Indian literature, wrote plays in Kannada. Many of these are inspired by ancient mythology but pass incisive comment on the state of modern India, including Tughlaq (1964), Hayavadana (1971) and Naga-Mandala (1988). A number of Karnad's plays have been translated into English.
Karnad also starred in more than a hundred films and television series, including Samskara (1970) and Malgudi Days (1986-87), and directed Vamsha Vriksha (1971), for which he won the first of 10 National Film Awards.
Karnad was considered one of the eminent Indian thinkers of his generation. He was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University during the 1960s and earned a Master of Arts degree in philosophy, political science and economics. In recent years, he spoke out about the lynching of Muslims in is country.
The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi posted his condolences on social media, tweeting: "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."
President Ram Nath Kovind added that, with Karnad's demise India's cultural world has become poorer.
Updated: June 10, 2019 11:25 AM