Noted actor, playwright and Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad passed away earlier this week at the age of 81 after a prolonged illness. The Karnataka government had declared a three-day mourning in honour of the legend’s demise.
Days later, the late actor’s journalist son has penned down a moving tribute to his beloved Appa. Raghu Karnad took to social media to share what it was like spending time in the last few hours with his Dad.
He wrote, “The picture that is growing rooted in my mind is of Appa in his spot on the sofa, his hand around a glass of whiskey, gently bubbling with bits of history, legend, song, folktale and philosophy. That was the man I loved.
“As many friends have pointed out, he had an immaculate sense of timing. This past weekend, my sister and I were both at home for a friend’s wedding. On Saturday evening, he completed a set of audio interviews with Arshia Sattar. On Sunday evening, the family sat together warmed by the long lines of sun on the terrace. I gave him his physio and my sister cut his nails. We talked about some new, difficult issues with his body. It was sad, but not only sad. On Monday morning he was gone. ”
Raghu continued, “In the days since then, it’s felt like a tribute to Appa that the house and my mind have been swirling with languages; Konkani, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, English, Hindi, without much comprehension.
“We’re all feeling a lot of love, relief and gratitude. ”
He thanked his fans and well wishers for sharing their experiences recounting how their lives were enriched by Karnad’s life and work. He concluded, “Thank you for the many messages about how you felt enriched by his life and work. The reverse is also true. His life and work were enriched and elevated by gurus and professors, aunts and sisters, friends, collaborators, directors, students, publishers, actors, readers, rivals, aides, some very important drivers – and many drinking companions. In his last few weeks and even hours I heard many of those names. Thank you all for building up the extraordinary person he was.”
Karnad, a recipient of the Jnanpith award, was also conferred the Padma Shri in 1974 and the Padma Bhushan in 1992. He was also a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford University in the 1960s that earned him his Master of Arts degree in philosophy, political science and economics.
His plays, written in Kannada, have been translated into English and several Indian languages.