Legendary Tamil writer and Sahitya Akademi winner Ashokamitran, aged 86, died on Thursday night. He collapsed at home in Chennai. He is survived by wife and three sons.
He powerfully portrayed the lives and struggles of the urban middle-class life in his literary works.
Born in 1931 in Secunderabad, Ashokamitran had written more than 250 short stories as well as two dozen novels and novellas.
He had received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1996 for a collection of short stories Appavin Snegidhar. His work has been translated into a number of Indian and European languages.
Kalyan Raman, who translated four of his Tamil fiction books, said on Twitter, “I have such happy memories of his warmth and friendship. Go well, sir. Goodbye.”
Kamal Haasan, Jeyamohan, S Ramakrishnan, Gnani and others too have condoled Ashokamitran’s death.
He took on writing as a full-time profession at a time when it was ‘unviable’. “I have witnessed all kinds of difficulties that a full-time writer will face,” he said in an interview to the now defunct magazine Subhamangala.
Born in Secunderabad in 1931, Ashokamitran spent the first twenty years of his life there. His real name was Jagadisa Thyagarajan.
He moved to Chennai in 1952 after the death of his father, following an invitation from his father’s friend, the film director S.S.Vasan to come work at Vasan’s Gemini Studios.
He worked for more than a decade at the Gemini Studios. While working there he often acted as an “unofficial scribe” (in his own words) for people working in the film industry, and said that his efforts consisted of “writing most heart rending appeals for loans and salary advances.