Distinguished Kannada poet G S Shivarudrappa died at 12.10 pm in his Banashankari II Stage residence on Monday. He died of renal failure and was ailing for the last two months, his family said. He was 87.
Shivarudrappa was the third Kannada poet to be bestowed with the title ‘Rashtrakavi’ in November 2006, after his teacher K V Puttappa (Kuvempu) and M Govinda Pai. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Pampa Prashasti for his poetry.
Many of his poems have been rendered into songs, most notably Ede Thumbi Haadidenu, Uduganaveshita, Neenu Mugilu Naanu Nela and Yaava Haadu Hadali.
Shivarudrappa, who has published 13 poetry collections, is survived by two wives — Rudrani and Padmavati - and three children — Jayadev, Jayanti and Shivaprasad. Shivaprasad is a doctor based in Birmingham, England.
“Apart from kidney-related problems, he also suffered from accumulation of water in the lungs (pulmonary edema). He last spoke in September before losing his speech,” said Rudrani, who remained seated in the hall crying as neighbours and well-wishers started coming in to pay their respects.
She said he was admitted to a private hospital for treatment about two months ago.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who visited Shivarudrappa’s home to pay homage, told reporters that Shivarudrappa was “a gentleman critic”. He said he would be cremated with full state honours on Thursday. “He has informed his family members that he does not want his cremation to be done in a religious manner,” Siddaramaiah said. He announced the state would mourn Monday and Tuesday and that government offices, schools and colleges would be closed on Tuesday.
His body was later shifted to the Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences for embalming. Shivarudrappa’s 1966 doctoral thesis Soundarya Sameekshe was completed under the guidance of Kuvempu. He held various teaching assignments in Davanagere, Shimoga and Mysore before moving to Bangalore University as professor and later as director of the Centre for Kannada Studies. Shivarudrappa had informed his family that he wanted to be laid to rest in Kalagrama (art village), behind Bangalore University’s Jnanabharathi campus. However, there is no clarity on whether this will be his final resting place.
BU Vice-Chancellor B Thimme Gowda said the university was ready to give space for Shivarudrappa’s memorial. “The Kalagrama land belongs to the university and around 20 acres has been leased to the Department of Kannada and Culture,” he said.
Siddaramaiah, Minister Umashree and Prof Gowda held a meeting for more than a hour in Shivarudrappa’s residence to finalise this. Reliable sources said his family members do not want any controversy on this matter. “A final decision will be taken after consulting his family. It will either be the Kalagrama or in Jnanabharathi campus,” he said.