Noted writer Kiran Nagarkar passed away in Mumbai on Thursday, 5 September. He was 77.
A Scroll report stated that Nagarkar had suffered a brain hemorrhage earlier this week.
Nagarkar was among the leading lights of the Indian literary world, known for his novels and plays in both Marathi and English.
His Ravan and Eddie was a stunning ode to the city of Mumbai — past and present. The bestseller was followed by two other books for a trilogy — The Extras and Rest In Peace, both of which captured the city's ethos through the tribulations and ultimate triumph of their protagonists, Ravan and Eddie.
Yet another of Nagarkar's significant works was Cuckold, a sumptuous, epic retelling of the story of Mira, but through the eyes of Maharaj Kumar, the royal husband she spurned in her devotion to Krishna. Cuckold earned Nagarkar the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2001.
Born in 1942, Nagarkar's first published work was in Marathi — Saat Sakkam Trechalis (1974). By the early '90s, he was widely considered among the most prominent writers in post-colonial India.
Nagarkar's writing didn't shy away from inconvenient truths. From 1978's Bedtime Story to God’s Little Soldier in 2006, he tackled subjects like extremism and political crises deftly. He continued to write well into this decade: Apart from Rest In Peace in 2015, he also authored Jasoda in 2017, and The Arsonist in 2019.
Nagarkar's legacy was marred by allegations of sexual misconduct during the second wave of the #MeToo movement in India last October. Three women journalists had accused the writer of directing sexually suggestive remarks and behaviour at them when they met him in the course of their work. Nagarkar had issued a statement denying the allegations.
On Friday, 6 September, Juggernaut Books, which published The Arsonist, issued a statement that read:
"All of us at Juggernaut Books are deeply grieved and shocked at Kiran Nagarkar’s sudden death. Kiran was one of our greatest writers and we are very proud that we had the privilege of publishing his last book, The Arsonist. Like all his works, The Arsonist too is a work of great imagination and narrative pace, full of profound and often shocking truths. Kiran’s inspired telling of Kabir’s life places the mystic saint in a world which might be modern or ancient, but in which religious, caste and ethical conflicts are as charged and relevant as ever. Kiran Nagarkar’s Kabir is an iconoclastic rebel, a man with more questions than answers, and with a wisdom shorn of any ego, as he engages with the most urgent social and political issues of our times. The Arsonist is a work of enduring value, destined to become a classic. It was a joy to work with Kiran Nagarkar, a man of gentle grace and humility, a sharp wit and a delightful sense of humour. With his death, the world of literature has suffered an irreplaceable loss."
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Updated Date: Sep 06, 2019 11:15:04 IST