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Ananthamurthy cremated with full state honours

August 23, 2014 17:46 IST

Mourners in large numbers on Saturday paid their last respects to Jnanpith award winner and Kannada literary giant U R Ananthamurthy who was cremated with full state honours in Bangalore.

Amid chants, a team of 15 priests performed the last rites according to Bramhinical traditions with his son Sharat lighting the funeral pyre at "Kalagrama" in "Jnana Bharati" campus of Bangalore University.

Ananthamurthy's mortal remains wrapped in tricolor were given gun salute by police, with his wife Esther, daughter Anuradha, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, state ministers, political figures and literary and film personalities in attendance.

The last rites were conducted as per Hindu traditions fulfiling the wishes of Ananthamurthy, who was equally brilliant in Kannada and English writing.

He died of multiple health complications at a private hospital in Bangalore on Friday aged 82, 10 days after he was admitted for fever and infection

Ananthamurthy, who burst on the literary scene in 1965 with the controversial novel 'Samskara' that earned him the tag as a scathing critic of Brahminism, its superstitions and hypocrisies, rose to become one of the best writers in the country widely acclaimed by fans and critics alike.

Earlier, hundreds of people paid their last respects to Ananthamurthy, who combined in him a writer, a thinker who questioned well held beliefs, playwright, poet, novelist and a public intellectual who dared to speak out vociferously on what he believed was right on social and political issues.

His body was kept at the premises of Ravindra Kalakshetra for people to pay homage before being taken to "Kalagrama" in a procession in a flower bedecked vehicle.

Christian and Muslim prayers were also conducted for Ananthamurthy, who was known for his strong beliefs in secularim and pluralism and questioned fundamentalism, particularly majoritarianism, often landing in controversies.

State political leaders, Union Ministers Ananth Kumar and D V Sadananda Gowda, literary and film figures like Girish Karnad, M S Satyu, Girish Kasaravalli, Nagabharana and K S Nissar Ahmed paid their last respects to the departed writer.

The Karnataka government has declared a three-day state mourning and its offices and educational institutions were closed today as a mark of respect to Ananthamurthy, whose literary works broke new grounds in Kannada literature.

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