Comprehension Exercise – 20

Comprehension Exercise – 20

Creative Writing – 72

Read the following write-up and answer the questions that follow

Article sourced from BBC

‘Girish Karnad has passed away at the age of 81’, read a message on my phone from an old acquaintance on Monday morning. His death had been announced to the world like a palace guard who would casually inform the arrival or departure of a character in one of his many historical plays. Karnad’s death signals the departure of a colossus who straddled many creative spheres and left a deep impression across generations. [Line – 8]

He was foremost a playwright, but he was also an actor, a filmmaker, a translator, an administrator, and a daring public intellectual. This multi-tasking made him one of the most prominent voices among those who built a robust liberal tradition for India, since its Independence in 1947.  [Line -14]

When India’s plural history, diverse traditions are being severely challenged now, mourning his demise acquires a different meaning. A pillar to lean on appears to have collapsed. Yet his works and his life promise to inspire and instruct how we need to stand steadfastly, and do what we need to do, that is, fight a good fight. [Line – 20]

Karnad was born into a middle class, upper caste family in the quaint town of Dharwad in colonial India’s Mumbai presidency, in modern-day Karnataka. His father was a doctor and his mother worked as a nurse. She had remarried as a widow which was a revolutionary act then. He won the prestigious Rhodes scholarship to study mathematics at Oxford. He thrived there and also became the president of the Oxford Students’ Union. [Line-29]

Karnad could have settled down in any part of the world, but made a “mad choice” – as he told me once – to get into the arts. A native speaker of the Konkani language, he chose to write in Kannada, a language which was only his acquired mother tongue. [Line-34]

This conflict between expressing in Konkani, Kannada and English, remained in him till the very end. It also found expression in a play that he wrote in his 1970s, titlted Odakalu Bimba (Heap of Broken Images). The play was not just about choice of language for writers, but also about the worldview they nourish: local or global. [Line-40]

This play was also significant for the reason that for the first time in his writing career, Karnad had addressed another charge that the literary critics had made against him. Until then, he had only made drawn on the past, or mythological worlds, to conceive characters, scenes, and dialogues for his eponymous plays like Tuglaq, Dreams of Sultan Tipu, or Hayavadana, inspired by Thomas Mann’s Transposed Heads. But, with Heap of Broken Images he had finally arrived on the shores of the present.


1. Suggest two possible titles to the above story.
2. How do Karnataka and India lose as a result of Girish Karnard’s demise? Line 8
3. How did Karnard enrich the literary and political scene of contemporary India? Line 14 till Line 20
4. How was Karnard’s life’s beginning? Why he calls his return to India a ‘mad choice’? Line 29 till Line 34
5. How did writing the play Odakalu Bimba (Heap of Broken Images) mark a watershed in his career? Line 40


1. a. Girish Karnard passes at 81 –Karnataka loses its literary giant. b. Girisk Karnard no more –  India is plunged in intellectual darkness.


3. From a middle class Konkani speaking family, Girish Karnard rose to dizzy heights in the intellectual field. He went to Oxford to study Mathematics, excelled their as an orator, and became the president of the Oxford debating Union. Forsaking the lure of England, he returned to his roots in India. He wrote highly popular books in Konkani, Kannada, and English. He worked as a theater artist, before making his debut in Bollwood. As a popular science presenter in Doordarshan, he won the heats of the young viewers. He was a liberal and a crusader for religious harmony and tolerance.

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