Girish Karnad (1938-2019)

A no-frills goodbye to Girish Karnad

Family abjures religious rituals, declines state funeral

It was a funeral unlike that of most celebrities. The family of Girish Karnad not only abjured all religious rituals but also politely declined a State funeral.

In a very emotional private affair, friends and family bid adieu to the noted playwright, film-maker and actor who passed away in his sleep at his residence in the city on Monday morning.

Minister for Kannada and Culture D.K. Shivakumar, who paid his last respects at Kalpalli cemetery in Bengaluru, tried convincing the family to allow the government to pay its respects with a State funeral. But Karnad’s son Raghu Karnad said it was his father’s wish not to have any ostentations, even as others interjected and convinced the Minister to respect the sensitivities of Karnad and his family. The police team that had come to give a 21-gun salute was sent back.

The media was kept out as the body was taken into the electric crematorium where close family members bid goodbye without any religious rituals before the remains were consigned to the flames. Earlier in the day, friends and family members spoke of their association with him and some read out excerpts of his works at his flat on Lavelle Road, sources said.

“This was what he wanted. From the past one month, he seemed to be mentally preparing to meet his end. He told family members not to follow any religious rituals and not to make his death a public event. He wanted his end to be as he lived. Karnad was a private person without any ostentations and even forbade them from keeping his mortal remains at Ravindra Kalakshetra, a tradition accorded to most cultural personalities,” said film-maker K.M. Chaitanya, one of the people Karnad mentored.

While last rites of several writers, G.S. Shivarudrappa, Gauri Lankesh, P. Lankesh, and Poornachandra Tejaswi, were conducted without caste-specific rituals, Karnad is probably among the very few writers whose family declined a State funeral as well.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 1:08:09 PM |

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