(G.N.S) Dt. 15
Writer, journalist, political analyst and theatre personality Gnani Sankaran died at his K K Nagar residence in Chennai on Monday morning. He was 64.
Gnani had been undergoing dialysis for last five years due to kidney ailment. His illness could not prevent the firebrand journalist of the 80s from indulging in what he thought was right and the principles he stood for. He was vocal in expressing his opinion always.
He had launched and experimental theatre group, Pareeksha, which eventually resulted in his marriage to Padmavathi on stage, during the staging of a play.
In the early 90s, a video he inadvertently shot of a V P Singh public meeting helped the special investigating team strengthen its case and investigation into the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. In the video shot by Gnani, “One eyed” Sivarasan was seen conducting a recce of what led to LTTE’s eventual successful mission in eliminating Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.
Over the past decade, he found a novel way of bringing together Tamil writers and enthusiasts to discuss Tamil literature and way forward. After finding a well in the backyard of the residence he rented in K K Nagar, he devised the idea of ‘Keni’, an informal meeting of enthusiasts of Tamil literature on the second Sunday evening every month.
Considered to be the left-of-centre, he never hesitated in expressing his views. “R K Nagar victory is good for T T V Dhinakaran but bad for Tamil Nadu,” he told TOI last month in an interview.
“I am planning to visit the beach after a long time. I don’t want to cancel it. Can we meet there for the interview,” he asked this correspondent.
“Between Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, Kamal seems to be more serious in entering politics than Rajini because even if Rajini takes the plunge, it will take more time for him to let go his reluctant image and convince people,” Gnani said on Christmas day, less than a week before Rajini’s eventual announcement. Gnani stood by what he believed, till his death.
He is survived by his wife and son.
Rajinikanth paid his last respects to Gnani. “He was my friend, and I was his fan,” the actor said after paying homage to Gnani.
Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, DMK working president M K Stalin and Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president S Thirunavukarasar were among the political leaders who condoled the death of Gnani.