Kannada writer & activist Chandrashekar Patil dies at 82 | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Kannada poet, playwright, critic and pro-Kannada activist Chandrashekar Patil, popularly known as ‘Champa’, passed away at a private hospital in Bengaluru on Monday. He was 82.
He was suffering from age-related illnesses for the past couple of years and was admitted to a private hospital a few days ago.
Born on June 18, 1939 at Hattimathuru village in what is now Haveri district, Champa joined as a professor of English in Karnatak University in 1969 after doing his Masters in Linguistics from Leeds University.
His first collection of poems ‘Baanuli’ was published in 1960. His first play, the absurd ‘Kodegalu’, had the Kannada literary world sitting up and taking notice. He followed it with absurdist masterpieces like ‘Appa’ and ‘Kunta Kunta Kuravaththi’. Soon he was toying with folklore in ‘Tingara Buddanna’ and ‘Gokarnada Gowdashaani’, the first alluded to Indira Gandhi’s tyrannical traits and the second was a sweeping commentary on avant garde theatre’s fascination for folklore as much as elitism and feudalism.
From Navya (modernist) to Bandaya, Patil transcended literary movements as a poet and playwright with great elan. As editor of literary journal Sankramana, he was in the forefront of major debates that marked the evolution of Kannada literature. “I am linguist and rustic,” he had told TOI in an interview in early 1990s. Some of his major works are Madhyabindu, Hathombathu Kavanagalu, At The Other End, Kattala Rathri, Vandhi Magada, Shalmala Nanna Shalmala and Gandhi Gandhi.
Champa always believed that a writer’s engagement with the world goes beyond the word. He was in jail for 26 days for supporting the JP Movement against the Emergency. His love for language as a tool in literature soon saw him taking up the cause of Kannada from the 1980s. He was part of several social, literary, pro-Kannada agitations and played an important role in the Gokak movement. He was honoured with the Pampa award by the government of Karnataka but he returned it in protest against the assassination of writer and critic Prof MM Kalburgi.
Champa was laid to rest with state honours at the Chamarajpet graveyard in the evening. Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai condoled his death.

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Sagar Biswas

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