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Kannada writer ‘Champa’ passes away

Published : Jan 11, 2022 12:22 IST T+T-

Chandrashekhar Patil (Champa) during the inauguration ceremony of the 84th Akhila Bharatha Kannada Sahithya Sammelana at Dharwad on January 4, 2019.

Prominent Kannada writer Chandrashekhar Patil, popularly known as “Champa”, passed away on January 10 at the age of 82 in a private hospital in Bengaluru. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

Champa was a Kannada language activist, a poet and a playwright and also served as President of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat (KSP) and Chairman of the Kannada Development Authority. As a literary figure, he was the foremost exponent of the “Bandaya”, or “protest”, movement in Kannada literature. He had also participated in the Gokak movement (a Kannada language rights agitation in the 1980s) and was jailed during the Emergency. Throughout his life, he was an avid proponent of Kannada medium education in schools.

Champa was born in a village in Haveri district in 1933 and was educated at the Karnataka College in Dharwad, the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages in Hyderabad and the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. He was critical of communalism and was known for his progressive stance. When he was president of the 73rd KSP, which took place in 2006, he had staunchly stood by the participation of activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh in the event in spite of severe opposition from members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Sangh Parivar.

Condoling his death, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said: “Champa was a revolutionary writer. His contribution to Kannada language has been immense. He was at the forefront of several movements on the issue of Kannada language, including the Gokak movement. He was very close to my family, especially my father [former Karnataka Chief Minister S.R. Bommai]”. Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stated: “I am deeply saddened by the death of my close friend Champa, who was an eternal revolutionary against injustice, inequality and totalitarianism.”

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