Advertisement
Friday, Dec 02, 2022
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Girish Karnad Most Influential Playwright Of Independent India, Never Believed in Mindless Nationalism: Ramachandra Guha

"Karnad carried the richness and depth of Indian civilisation more nobly and less self-consciously than anyone else," Ramchandra Guha told Outlook.

Girish Karnad Most Influential Playwright Of Independent India, Never Believed in Mindless Nationalism: Ramachandra Guha
The 82-year-old playwright, actor and director passed away on Monday morning.
Girish Karnad Most Influential Playwright Of Independent India, Never Believed in Mindless Nationalism: Ramachandra Guha
outlookindia.com
2019-06-10T14:35:15+05:30

Historian and writer Ramachandra Guha had described veteran actor, playwright, and Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad as a "quiet patriot" in one of his pieces last year. 

On Monday morning, 81-year-old Karnad breathed his last in Bengaluru after battling ailments, including breathing problem for some time now. 

"Karnad carried the richness and depth of Indian civilisation more nobly and less self-consciously than anyone else," Guha told Outlook.

Easily,  he was "the most influential playwright of independent India" who never believed in "mindless nationalism that we are seeing today."

"Look at the greatness of his politics... He never paraded it. He believed in plural and tolerant India. He always shunned party politics and never romanticised Naxalism," Guha said, adding that Karnad was never in favour of a "state funeral".

"He wanted a quiet funeral with his friends and family. That's him."

Talking about the wisdom Karnad possessed, the historian said that you could talk to him about anything -- from literature to cinema. "He beautifully and seamlessly blended North and South, the folk and the classical, the demotic and the scholarly."    

Guha said that Karnad read and spoke 6 languages, adding he didn't know anyone else who had the knowledge and understanding of all arts -- music, literature, and dance. 

Recalling the 2017 'Not in My Name' protest against a wave of lynchings of Muslim men by Hindutva mobs that shocked the nation, Guha said he didn't expect Karnad to turn up at Bengaluru demonstrations.   

"As we stood silently holding up our placards, it began to rain. We carried on standing, in the open. A figure slipped in silently on my left. It was Girish," Guha wrote in The Telegraph

"He had walked at least ten minutes in the rain from whichever side road his driver had parked his car in, carrying his cylinder and his tubes with him. 

"He stood, and asked the person to his left if he could hold his placard. A student rushed in with an umbrella, which he opened and passed on to Karnad, who immediately shared it with the person to his right (me),"  Guha further wrote. 

Not only was he a great writer and playwright but an exceptional administrator too, Guha said.

"He was outstanding as the director of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and mentored great actors such Nasiruddin Shah and Om Puri," he said.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.

Advertisement