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Compiled/Written by Murali Kamma Email Compiled/Written by Murali Kamma
December 2019



It’s that time again. As another year winds down, the holidays allow us to hit pause so that we can relax and reflect. And remember. In this roundup, Khabar offers an appreciation of a dozen individuals who died in the first eleven months of 2019. They all gained recognition for their contributions over the years.



WHEN he died: January 21, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1927)
WHAT:“Bhola was a member of the Indian team at two Olympics—1956 and 1960—winning gold and silver respectively … He was a national selector in the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation regime for almost nine years, was inducted as an international umpire by the FIH for five years, was appointed manager of the Indian team on several international tours and was the government observer till the late ’90s, including the 1994 World Cup and the 1998 Asian Games.”—Sportstar






WHEN she died: January 25, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1989)
WHAT:“Shortly after filming Top Chef in 2017, Ali was diagnosed with the rare bone cancer Ewing’s Sarcoma … With a charming personality, playful sense of humor, and knack for folding elements of Pakistani cuisine into her dishes, Fatima Ali was an easy Top Chef contestant to root for. She made it more than halfway through Season 15 and was voted the ‘fan favorite’ by viewers of the show at the end of the competition.”—Eater







WHEN he died: January 29, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1930)
WHAT: “A charismatic trade union leader, Mr. Fernandes will be best remembered for resisting emergency rule in the mid-1970s when then prime minister Indira Gandhi suspended civil liberties. He will also be known as the man who threw out Coca-Cola and IBM from India when he was the industry minister in the late 1970s. Known to be honest and forthright, [he] was often described as a rebel who fought for the rights of the poor people and low-paid workers.”—BBC






WHO: AFSIR KARIM (Major General)
WHEN he died: February 12, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1934)
WHAT: “[He fought] in the 1962 India-China war and in the 1965 and 1971 India-Pakistan wars. In the 1971 Liberation War, he commanded a Parachute battalion in the Eastern theatre. For distinguished service of an exceptional order, he was awarded the AtiVishishtSeva Medal while serving in the Army. Post retirement in May 1989, the General took to academic life and became a renowned scholar and thinker on strategic issues.”—Mpositive.in






WHEN he died: February 19, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1927)
WHAT: “The majority of Wolpert’s books was written in the pre-internet age … There was hardly any historical figure of import in modern South Asia on whom Wolpert did not write: from Gopal Krishna Gokhale to Gandhi to John Morley, the colonial secretary of state when Bengal was partitioned. In each work, Wolpert was careful to facts and light on opinion. Above all, his histories even when they dealt with serious subjects were fun to read.”— Open magazine







WHEN he died: March 21, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1934)
WHAT: “Shah, who was awarded the Padma Shri in 1989, was known to be a figurative artist, and many simplistic faces and forms peer out pleasantly from his body of work … A soft-spoken, khadi-wearing artist, he taught at the Gandhi ashram in Gujarat’s Vedchhi village, while also being a faculty member at the prestigious National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, and a lecturer at several other international institutions.”—Firstpost






WHO: V. ANASUYA DEVI (Folk Singer)
WHEN she died: March 23, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1920)
WHAT: “A child prodigy and gifted singer, Anasuya made her singing debut at the age of 8, with a gramophone record of her songs. Thereafter, for a good seven decades, she sang, wrote, researched and lived folk songs to the delight of millions of her listeners across the world … Her popularity and fame got her many awards, including ‘Queen of Folk Music’ in Paris and a Lifetime Achievement Award in the U.S.”—The Hindu BusinessLine






WHO: KALPANA DASH (Mountaineer)
WHEN she died: May 23, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1966)
WHAT: “Dash had scaled Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, in May 2008 and become a role model in Odisha. She was part of a five-member team comprising mountaineers from the United States, Canada, and Nepal. She had achieved the feat after two failed attempts in 2004 and 2006 … In a career spanning a decade and a half, Dash had trekked many mountains in India and abroad, including in Europe, America, and Australia, and conquered their peaks.”—News18








WHEN he died: June 5, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1941)
WHAT: “Initially, he was seen on television programmes with the legendary Adi Marzban when Mumbai Doordarshan launched the DD-2 channel in Mumbai with Aao Marvao Meri Saathe, a Gujarati programme. He was awarded the Padma Shri in January 2019. Popular for his roly poly looks, his ability to tweak both ears and other acting skills, some of the prominent films in which he acted [include] Baazigar, Khiladi, and 36 China Town.” —Business Standard






WHEN he died: June 10, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1938)
WHAT: “Though he started off his career in cinema as an actor, he is best known as a writer and thinker. Karnad was one of the most prominent artistic voices of his generation. He was an eminent playwright with works such as Nag-Mandala, Yayati, and Tughlaq, which was one of the most successfully performed plays, to his credit. He also worked in Hindi cinema’s parallel film movement in movies such as Swami and Nishant. His TV credits include Malgudi Days…”—The Hindu







WHO: MOHAN RANADE (Freedom Fighter)
WHEN he died: June 25, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1929)
WHAT: “During Goa’s liberation movement, Ranade was active in attacking police stations at Betim, Banastarim, and other outposts. He was arrested by Portuguese police in 1955 and was imprisoned at the Fort of Caxias near Lisbon in Portugal. He was kept in solitary confinement for six years. Ranade was released from prison in January 1969, after the liberation of Goa in 1961, having served 14 years. Mohan Ranade was awarded the Padma Shri in 2001…”—DD News







WHO: RAHUL DESIKAN (Neuroscientist)
WHEN he died: July 14. 2019 (Year of Birth: 1978)
WHAT: “He was known for developing a widely used method of automatically labeling regions of the human cortex based on MRI data, called the Desikan atlas, and for identifying genetic variants related to a number of neurodegenerative diseases. In recent years, he had written about living with ALS, a disease he also happened to study … [at] Radiology & Biomedical Imaging, Neurology and Pediatrics, where he analyzed the genetics of neurodegenerative diseases.”— The Scientist







WHO: RAJA DHALE (Dalit Activist)
WHEN he died: July 16, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1940)
WHAT: “He had formally established himself as a formidable ideologue of the newly floated ‘Dalit Panther’ organisation … Dhale, who strongly believed that Buddhism and Ambedkarism were the only ways forward for the community, floated another organisation called ‘Mass Movement.’ He continued to look at Ambedkarism through different prisms and remained active in social movements even while continuing with his writings and caricatures.”—The Wire







WHEN she died: July 20, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1938)
WHAT: “Sheila Dikshit was Chief Minister of Delhi from 1998 to 2013. This was a momentous period for Delhi with many challenges like air pollution, water shortage, power shortage, and poor infrastructure. Her three terms as CM changed all that. Many of the challenges are continuing but she faced them head on with great success … From roads, bridges, flyovers to the Metro, connectivity improved dramatically.”—National Herald






WHO: V. G. SIDDHARTHA (Entrepreneur)
WHEN he died: July 2019 (Year of Birth: 1959)
WHAT: “‘I have failed’ and ‘I gave up’ were the six most wrenching words in a letter believed to be written by V. G. Siddhartha, an Indian entrepreneur whose body was fished out of the Netravati River on July 31st … Café Coffee Day, the chain Mr. Siddhartha founded in 1996, has 1,700 outlets in India—ten times the number of Starbucks shops in the country. They serve as a second home to many, thanks to reasonable prices and comfortable, if worn, seats.”—The Economist








WHO: SUSHMA SWARAJ (Cabinet Minister)
WHEN she died: August 6, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1952)
WHAT: “Swaraj was the external affairs minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet from 2014 to 2019. She distinguished herself with an active presence on social media, often replying to requests for help from Indians abroad … [Swaraj] entered national politics and served as information and broadcasting minister, parliamentary affairs minister, and health minister. She also served as the chief minister of Delhi in the late 1990s.”—The Associated Press







WHEN she died: August 15, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1947)
WHAT: “Vidya Sinha is best remembered for her roles in Basu Chatterjee’s romances such as Rajnigandha (1974) and Chhoti Si Baat (1976), and B. R. Chopra’s Pati, Patni Aur Woh (1978). Her last notable role was in Salman Khan’s 2011 Eid release, Bodyguard. In recent times, she has been busy with television assignments. She was seen in shows such as Ekta Kapoor’s Kaavyanjali, besides Kulfi Kumarr Bajewala.”—The Hindustan Times







WHO: ARUN JAITLEY (Cabinet Minister)
WHEN he died: August 24, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1952)
WHAT: “As finance minister, Jaitley was credited with pushing through the government’s economic agenda, including critical and long-awaited reforms … During India’s radical cash ban—when 85 per cent of the country’s cash was invalidated—Jaitley was prolific in countering criticism of the move, which brought tremendous hardships to ordinary people and the small and medium enterprises that form a vital part of the Indian economy.”—Financial Times







WHEN he died: September 5, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1942)
WHAT: “A brilliant political novel, Cuckold won Nagarkar the Sahitya Akademi Award. In 2006, Nagarkar published God’s Little Soldier, the story of a Muslim boy who becomes a religious fundamentalist. In 2012, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany … Nagarkar was best known for his Ravan and Eddie trilogy—Ravan and Eddie (1994), The Extras (2012), and Rest in Peace (2015)—that chronicled the lives of two unusual Mumbai boys.”—Frontline







WHEN he died: September 8, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1923)
WHAT: “He served as law and urban development minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government but even during his days in the BJP he would never hold back on criticising his own party … Never one to shy away from a verbal duel, Jethmalani would make news for becoming a defence attorney for those who were in the dock for grave crimes. He fought the cases of the assassins of Indira Gandhi and later her son Rajiv.”—The Economic Times







WHEN he died: October 11, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1949)
WHAT: “A Padma Shri awardee and one of the pioneers of saxophone music in the country, he had the distinction of being the first Carnatic musician to be invited to the BBC Promenade concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London, in 1994 … Gopalnath was bestowed with the Kendriya Sangeet Natak Akademi award, Kalaimamani award from the Tamil Nadu government, the Karnataka Kalasri, the Gana Kala Bhushana, and Naada Gandharva, to name a few.”—Rediff







WHEN he died: October 27, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1936)
WHAT: “He was the first American scholar to work in the field of South Asian security studies, largely defined the field, trained many of its leading analysts, and was himself its most experienced and insightful practitioner. He also developed specific policy interests in nuclear proliferation, disaster management, and the application of technology to the prevention or mitigation of terrorism.”—The Brookings Institution







WHEN he died: October 27, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1946)
WHAT: “Mr. Reddy began the Grandpa Kitchen channel in 2017 by posting videos that followed a straightforward formula: adorable children, heartwarming music, inspirational sayings, and seemingly absurd amounts of food … In the two years that Mr. Reddy posted on YouTube, he fed dozens, if not hundreds, of children, and his videos have been viewed more than 626 million times.”—The New York Times







WHO: T. N. SESHAN (Election Commissioner)
WHEN he died: November 10, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1932)
WHAT: “The no-nonsense Seshan, an IAS officer of 1955 batch from Tamil Nadu cadre, managed to stamp his authority on the country’s electoral system during his term as the country’s 10th Chief Election Commissioner from 1990 to 1996. He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay award in 1996 for ‘his resolute actions to bring order, fairness, and integrity to elections in India, the world’s largest democracy.’”—India Today






WHEN she died: November 7, 2019 (Year of Birth: 1938)
WHAT: “She moved effortlessly between many different genres of writing, from poetry, short story, novels, novellas, travel writing, children’s literature, one-act plays, essays, belles-lettres to academic literary criticism … A winner of many honours and prizes, including the Mahadevi Verma Prize in 1992, Sahitya Akademi award in 1999, and Padma Shri in 2000, she was a professor of comparative literature at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, until her retirement.”—Indian Express


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