Kiran Nagarkar: An extraordinary writer of grit and skill
September 6, 2019
Kiran Nagarkar, one of the finest writers of our times, passed away on September 5. He has left behind a rich legacy — as a novelist, playwright, journalist, academic and much more. Whether it was his ideas, his involvement in social and political issues, his writings or raising his voice for our freedom of speech and protesting against the crushing of dissent and injustice, his life itself is a message to us. Another way, perhaps, to remember him would be as someone who was deeply modern, secular, rational and always inclusive.
The Indian writing community is grieved at the loss of yet another fearless writer. Renowned writer Adil Jussawalla said, “Kiran, though deeply affected by local and national events, was never a parochial writer. He wrote passionately against the unjust and brutal effects of our social and political systems, he was quick to expose our hypocrisies, but that, I believe, is because he never gave up on a vision he held on to all his life – a humanely generous vision, its grounds compassionate, its scope international. We have lost a treasure.”
Speaking to the Indian Cultural Forum, poet Keki Daruwalla, who was on the jury which awarded Nagarkar the Sahitya Akademi award, said, "I am very very sorry at this terrible loss. He was a very fine writer. I read his book Cuckold and I found it exalting."
Author and poet, K Satchidanandan remembers Nagarkar for the fine bi-lingual fiction writer he was as well as for his commitment to social movements. He says, "[Kiran Nagarkar] will be remembered for a long time for his acute political awareness, profound humanism, deep sense of humour and irony and uncompromising stand against every form of authoritarianism and hierarchies of power. I have lost an intimate friend, and India, an extraordinary writer of grit and skill."
Writer Githa Hariharan, reflecting on his legacy, said "Kiran Nagarkar showed us what it is to be a questioning writer and citizen. Both his work and his life were guided by reason; he was outspoken, willing to take risks. The best tribute we can pay him is to continue the good fight."
Kiran Nagarkar was a friend and advisor of the Indian Writers Forum. His loss will be felt deeply. In 2015, when the forum was just finding its feet, Nagarkar visited our studio and spoke about one year of the Modi government at the centre and its attack on rationality and scientific temper.
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