Girish Karnad, a top Indian playwright, actor and director and a rights activist, died yesterday after a prolonged illness. He was 81.
India’s president and the prime minister expressed their condolences over Karnad’s death at his home in Bangalore, the capital of southern Karnataka state. The family did not elaborate on his illness.
A renowned theater personality, Karnad worked predominantly in South Indian cinema and in Bollywood. He was a Rhodes scholar in the 1960s and earned a master of arts degree in philosophy, political science and economics.
Karnad received India’s top literary prize, the Jnanpith Award, and two national awards, the Padma Shri in 1974 and Padma Bhushan in 1992, for his body of work. His plays, written in the Kannada language, were translated into English and several Indian languages.
He championed freedom of expression and condemned violent attacks on journalists or critics of religious superstition and extreme Hindu nationalist politics.