BHUBANESWAR: Eminent litterateur Prof Chandrasekhar Rath passed away at a private hospital here on Friday. He was 89 and suffering from old-age related health complications.
Born on October 17, 1929 at Malpada village in Balangir district, Prof Rath was selected for Padma Shree, the fourth highest civilian award of the country, this year. Before he could receive it, he left for the heavenly abode.
Graduated from Rajendra college, he did Post-graduation in English from Canning College, University of Lucknow. DLitt was conferred on him by Lucknow University in 2008. Later Utkal University of Culture also conferred a DLitt in 2012.
A trendsetter in Odia prose, Prof Rath had joined Odisha Education Service in 1952 as lecturer in English and served as Secretary of Test Book Bureau before retiring as Deputy Director Public Instruction (DPI) in 1987.
He took off as an essayist and carved out a place for himself in an area which did not have many names either in the past or in his times. He has authored three novels - Yantrarudha (The Instrumented) in 1967, Asurya Upanivesh (The Sunless Colony) in 1974 and Nav Jatak (Regenesis) in 1981.
Besides, he has 14 short story collections, 15 essay books, including four volumes of devotional essays, and three poetry collections to his credit. He had received Sahitya Akademi Award in 1997 for his collection of short stories 'Sabutharu Dirgharati' (The Longest Night Ever) and Hutch Crossword Book Award for 'Yantrarudha' (Astride the Wheel) in 2004.
Governor SC Jamir, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan condoled his death. The CM visited the bereaved family members at their Nayapalli residence and paid floral tributes to Rath. "The sad demise of Rath is a great loss to the State. He would be remembered for his contribution to Odia literature," Naveen said.