Thousands bid tearful adieu to Ananthamurthy
Bangalore: Thousands of people from all walks of life Saturday bid a tearful adieu to eminent Kannada writer U.R. Ananthamurthy as his mortal remains were consigned to flames in the Jnana Bharati campus of Bangalore University with state honours.
The 82-year-old Jnanpith awardee passed away Friday at a hospital here.
Amid chanting of Vedic hymns, 15 priests led by Suryanarayana Shastri performed the last rites. The writer`s only son Sharat lit the pyre after a 21-gun salute by police and rendering of the state anthem and National Anthem.
Besides Ananthamurthy`s widow Esther, daughter Anuradha and son-in-law Vivek Shanbag were present along with relatives and close friends.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, his cabinet colleagues Umashree, Ambarish and U.T. Khader, former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and several writers, poets, scholars and teachers also attended the cremation.
Earlier, hundreds of people paid homage to Ananthamurthy as his body was kept at Samsa Bayalu Rangamandira in Ravindra Kalakshetra to enable people to pay their last respects.
Draped in national flag, the flower-decked cortege, carrying the frail body of the writer, was taken in a procession to the university campus in south-west suburb amid tight security.
Hundreds witnessed the last journey. Many followed it.
With the state government Friday declaring a three-day mourning and a public holiday Saturday as a mark of respect to Ananthamurthy, all official engagements and programmes were cancelled and the national flag was lowered to half mast on all state-owned buildings and offices.