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Mysuru-based Academician, theatre doyen Na Rathna dies aged 89

Rathna, who studied in Mysuru and the USA, was a close associate of acclaimed scholar and critic A K Ramanujan and writer U R Ananthamurthy.
Last Updated : 19 June 2024, 14:23 IST

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Mysuru: Mysuru-based academician, speech and hearing expert and theatre person Na Rathna (89) died of heart attack at his son’s residence in Bengaluru, on Wednesday morning.

He was the first director of Mysuru-based premier institution All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH).

Born on December 12, 1934, to Dr A M Natesh and Vittobai Ammal in Chidambaram of Tamil Nadu, Rathna studied in Mysuru and the USA. He was a close associate of acclaimed scholar and critic A K Ramanujan and writer U R Ananthamurthy.

He completed 10th standard in 1950 from Maharaja High School, Intermediate (1952) from Yuvaraja College and BA (Honours) in English from Maharaja College and BEd at Institute of Education in Mysuru and went to the USA, for higher education. He studied MS in Speech and Hearing in Hunter College (University) of New York and Indiana University and served there as a professor.

When, AIISH was established in 1966, he arrived as its first director and served till 1989. Meanwhile, he was also director of Secunderabad-based Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for Hearing Handicapped, from 1985 to 1987.

He founded ‘Samathentho’, a theatre group and penned plays like Ellige mattu Ithara Kathegalu, Bonte, and Gode Beke Gode. His radio plays Punarjanma, Binna Benaka, and Bolacharige Namana were popular. He acted in over 50 plays.

In April too, he acted in the play Ayyana Shanthi Kutira, sitting on a wheel-chair, as he could not stand or walk due to age-related problems. He received Karnataka Nataka Academy award in 2005, Kannada Rajyothsava Award in 2013, M N Roy Award, B V Karanth Award and Helen Keller Award.

He is survived by his wife Latha, a son and a daughter. His body was kept at his house, named ‘Mahamane’, on Vishwamanava Double Road in Saraswathipuram, Mysuru, on Wednesday. Later, his body was donated to JSS Medical College, as per his wish.

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Published 19 June 2024, 14:23 IST

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