Udupi Rajagopalacharya Ananthamurthy-one of India`s best known writers and thinkers went silent today. He was not only a celebrated writer but an acclaimed English professor, an activist and a guru to many.
Born at Melige village in Thirthahalli taluk of Shimoga district in the year 1932, Ananthamurthy started his education at a traditional Sanskrit school in Doorvasapura and went on to study at the Mysore University. After receiving his Masters degree Ananthamurthy went to England for further studies on a scholarship. He did his doctorate from the University of Birmingham in 1966.
The Jnanpith awardee`s career began as a professor in the English department of the same university where he had graduated from. He also served as the vice chancellor of the Mahatama Gandhi University in Kottayam from 1987 to 1991. After serving as the chairman of the National Book Trust for the year 1992, he was elected as the President of the Sahitya Academy in 1993.
He also served as a visiting professor in many renowned Indian and foreign universities including Jawaharlal Nehru University, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, University of Iowa, Tufts University and Shivaji University.
Apart from the numerous short stories, the legendary writer`s main works include novels like -Samskara, Bhava, Bharathi Pura, and Avasthe. A few of his novels have also been adapted into films.
He shot to fame with his 1965 novel `Samskara` which shot a controversy for its attack on the orthodoxy of the Brahmin community. However, the criticism never touched his zeal to write and came with some brilliant pieces during his lifetime.
The Kannada author also courted a controversy recently just before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when he said that he would not live in the country if Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister of India. However, he later changed his stand on the issue.
He was conferred with the prestigious Padma Bhushan Award in 1998 and received several other honours for his contribution to the world of literature. He was also one of the finalists of Man Booker International Prize for the year 2013.
The veteran Kannada writer breathed his last today at a hospital in Bengaluru after suffering a multi-organ failure.
It is rightly said that all good things come to an end but nevertheless, the literary world was privileged to receive all the pearls of wordly wisdom which he bestowed during his lifetime.
Writers never die and their words will always resonate in the alleys of literature serving as a beacon of light for the people who dare to make a difference.