New Delhi: Marking the end of an era, Hindi literary stalwart, poet and critic Namvar Singh passed away on Tuesday night at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here following a month-long illness. He was 92.
"With profound grief, I inform that my father, Prof. Namvar Singh, left for heavenly abode last night," his son V.P. Singh told IANS.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi led the nation in mourning the demise of Namvar Singh, one of the tallest figures of contemporary Hindi literature.
Kovind tweeted that he was deeply saddened and expressed his condolences to the bereaved family. He hailed the writer for establishing a new paradigm in Hindi literature and said that his death was a loss not only to Hindi literature but to Indian languages at large.
Modi lauded Singh for giving a new direction to Hindi literature with his criticism and said that his death had left a void which cannot be fulfilled.
Namwar Singh held a Ph.D from the Banaras Hindu University, where he also began his teaching career. He later became a professor of Hindi at Jodhpur University and then at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi.
He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi award in 1971 for literary criticism.
Rahul Gandhi referred to Namvar Singh's death as the end of an era and said restoring dialogue in the country would be the true tribute to him.
"A torchbearer for Hindi literature and critic for 50 years, with Namvar Singh's death an era has come to an end. He gave his entire life in making the society tolerant and democratic. Restoring dialogue in the country will be the true tribute to him.
"He was the brand ambassador of Hindi literary criticism and his works gave a solid foundation to Hindi language and literature. We have to take ahead his work," Gandhi wrote on social media.
After his retirement from JNU in 1992, Namwar Singh continued to serve as a 'professor emeritus' at the University's Centre of Indian Languages.
He has authored over a dozen books, including "Kavita Ke Naye Pratiman", "Chhayavaad" and "Dusari Parampara Ki Khoj". He also worked as Chairman of the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation.
He served as Chairman of the selection board of Jnanpith Awards.