Bangalore: Renowned writer and Jnanpith awardee U. R. Ananthamurthy, passed away in a hospital here on Friday, where he was undergoing dialysis for kidney failure.
The condition of 82-year-old writer, admitted 10 days ago, had deteriorated for the past few days and was closely monitored for infection and fever, and was undergoing treatment on multi-support system.
“…Ananthamurthy has been unwell for a while, he had multiple problems including kidney disease for which he had been on dialysis for the last few years…,” Manipal Hospital Medical Director & Chairman – Medical Advisory Board H Sudarshan Ballal told reporters earlier today.
According to doctors, Mr. Murthy’s “condition had deteriorated in the last day or so.”
Born on December 21, 1932 in Melige, a tiny hamlet near Thirthahalli taluk of Shimoga district, Udupi Rajgopalacharya Ananthamurthy was the sixth of the eight Jnanpith awardees from Karnataka. For his readers and admirers, his work came to symbolize humanity and its courage in questioning cultural norms. Best known is his 1966 novel, Samskara, a story that asks: Can culture survive only if it is followed with blind fervour?
A Padma Bhushan award winner, Ananthamurthy was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize in 2013. The Man Booker committee called him as, “one of the most important representatives of the “Navya” or “New Movement” in the literature of the Kannada language.”
A vocal opponent of mindless bigotry and fascism of every kind, Ananthamurthy became an ardent critic of Narendra Modi during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, and said he would leave the country if Modi won the election and became the Prime Minister of India. Explaining his views on Modi, he wrote that, “Modi symbolises all the greed that development has brought—heartlessness, the lack of sense of duty, and intelligence. It has all been lost to development. And they become blind to hungry children and mothers, schools without teachers, bad roads. It is a nightmare. Modi stands for that more than anyone else…Modi has built his political fortune by giving a big bali during the Gujarat riots. He silenced the Muslims.”
U. R. Ananthamurthy was said to be not keeping well for more than a year now. In one of his last interviews published by Mint in April this year, the writer said that, “I have lost my kidneys. I was on peritoneal dialysis for a year. The man who attended to me had to wash his hands 10 times or have gloves on, which was very expensive.”
He is survived by his wife, Esther, and two children, Sharat and Anuradha.