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Updated: March 7, 2011 01:25 IST

Publisher K. Krishnamurthy passes away

Special Correspondent
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K. Krishnamurthy.
The Hindu Photo Library
K. Krishnamurthy.

Well-known bookseller and publisher K. Krishnamurthy passed away in the early hours of Sunday, his family said.

He was 95. He is survived by three sons, daughters-in-law and five grandchildren. His wife Lakshmi Satyamurti, daughter of freedom fighter S. Satyamurti, died in 2009.

Mr. Krishnamurthy was born on October 22, 1915 in Kottayam. After completing his school education in Kottayam, he graduated in English, with a University gold medal, from the Maharaja's College, Thiruvananthapuram. He joined Presidency College, Madras, for his MA, but moved out after a brief stint to pursue a master's degree in Jurisprudence at Hertford College, Oxford University, where too he was a gold medallist.

Returning to India just as the Second World War was starting, he preferred to be a writer rather than pursue law. After his first manuscript was rejected by major publishers, he decided to set up a bookshop to continue his association with the world of writing and set up a small bookshop subscription agency in 1944. Over the years, this has grown into a renowned bookshop, K Krishnamurthy Booksellers. He was one of the founders of the Federation of Publishers' & Booksellers' Associations in India, which he served as a vice-president and the Booksellers' & Publishers' Association of South India, of which he was president.

He married Lakshmi in 1943 and inspired her to take part in social service activities in Kerala and politics in the then state of Madras. He facilitated her entry into the Madras Legislative Council.

In 1965, together with his wife, he launched ‘Vachakar Vattam', a pioneering book club in Tamil. In the early 1970s, he edited and published a Tamil Library Science Magazine called Noolagam. Among his notable works is the English translation (from Malayalam) of the autobiography of historian and diplomat K.M. Panikkar.

Meanwhile, he joined his father, a leading lawyer in the then state of Travancore, in developing and managing tea, rubber, cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations until 1975.

In 1975, on a request from the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, K. Kamaraj, to take an active role in resisting Emergency, Mr. Krishnamurthy edited an English newsletter disseminating information about opposition activities.

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