Obituary - Current Affairs for April,2017

Month and Year:   
▼ 1970s famous novelist Robert M. Pirsig is no more   [04-26-17]

Robert M. Pirsig, author of the influential 1970s philosophical novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance died on 24th April at the age of 88.

William Morrow & Co executive editor Peter Hubbard said in a statement that Pirsig's wife Wendy had confirmed his death at his home in Maine.

Published in 1974 after being rejected by more than 100 other publishers, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was the father-son story of a motor-cycle trip across the western United States.

Loosely autobiographical, it also contained flashbacks to a period in which the author was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

The book quickly became a best-seller.

Its protagonist set out to resolve the conflict between classic values that create machinery, such as a motorcycle, and romantic values, such as experiencing the beauty of a country road.

Born in Minneapolis, Pirsig had a high IQ and graduated high school at the age of 15.

He earned a degree in philosophy and also worked as a technical writer and instructor of English before being hospitalized for mental illness in the early 1960s.

His philosophical thinking and personal experiences during these years, including a 1968 motorcycle trip across the US West with his eldest son, Christopher, formed the core of the narrative of the novel.

Pirsig worked on the sequel, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals for 17 years before its publication in 1991. The story traced a sailboat journey taken by two fictitious characters along America’s eastern coast.

Pirsig lived the last 30 years in South Berwick, Maine and is survived by his wife Wendy, two children and three grandchildren. His son Chris died in 1979.

Robert M.Pirsig: Know More

  • Robert Maynard Pirsig was an American writer and philosopher, and the author of the philosophical novels Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals.
  • Born: 6 September 1928, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
  • Died: 24 April 2017
  • Spouse: Wendy Kimball (m. 1978)
  • Bestselling Book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

▼ NC leader Ali Mohammad Naik dies    [04-24-17]

Senior National Conference (NC) leader and former speaker of Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, Ali Mohammad Naik, passed away at ages 87.

Naik, a resident of Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, was suffering from chest disease and breathed his last while being taken to a hospital on 22nd April 2017.

He had served as general secretary of Plebiscite Front under NC founder and former chief minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.

The Plebiscite Front advocated holding of a referendum in the state for deciding its future.

In 1967, Naik left the Plebiscite Front and contested assembly elections from Tral constituency.

He represented the constituency till 1977 and was also elected the deputy speaker of the Assembly in 1972.

He was one of the many NC leaders and MLAs who toppled the Farooq Abdullah government in 1984 by allying with Ghulam Mohammad Shah and was made the revenue minister in Shah’s cabinet.

However, he later returned to the NC and was elected speaker of the Assembly in 1996.

In 1999, he defeated former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in Lok Sabha elections from Anantnag constituency of South Kashmir.

Naik was badly injured in a militant attack in 2006. He is survived by two sons.

National Conference: Know More

  • Headquarters: Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
  • Founder: Sheikh Abdullah
  • Founded: 11 June 1939
  • Ideology: Re-unification of Kashmir, Moderate separatism, Pro-India
  • Alliance: Indian National Congress (2008-2014)
  • Seats in Lok Sabha: 1 / 545(2017)
  • Seats in Rajya Sabha: 0 / 245(2017)

▼ CPI-M leader Narayan Sanyal passes away   [04-21-17]

Narayan Sanyal, a top leader of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist [CPI-Maoist], passed away on 17 April 2017.

This is following a prolonged illness in a South Kolkata hospital. He was 78.

Famously known as Bijoy-da, Narayan Sanyal joined the Maoist politics in 1967. Born in undivided Bengal’s Bogra district, now in Bangladesh, Sanyal was known for his keen interest in football.

In 1940s, he joined the CPI-Marxist-Leninist (ML) in the 1960s.

Sanyal was among the last links between CPI(ML), considered as the father of leftwing insurgency in India and its offshoot CPI(Maoist), which is perceived as India’s gravest internal security threat.

In December 2005, Sanyal was arrested from Raipur in Chhattisgarh when he was serving as a member of the banned CPI (Maoist)’s politburo, the highest decision-making body.

He was released from jail in 2014 due to failing health and had been living in Kolkata since.

CPI-M: Know More

  • Headquarters: Gole Market, New Delhi, India
  • Founded: 7 November 1964
  • Newspaper: Ganashakti, People's Democracy
  • Ideology: Communism, Marxism–Leninism
  • Political position: Far-left politics
  • Alliance: Left Front
  • General secretary: Sitaram Yechury

▼ TDP leader Devineni Nehru Rajasekhar is no more   [04-21-17]

Telugu Desam leader and former Andhra Pradesh minister, Devineni Nehru (Rajasekhar), died of cardiac arrest. He was 63.

A powerful youth leader, Devineni Nehru has been part of the TDP since its formation in 1982 by the TDP supremo and leading star NT Rama Rao.

He was elected MLA from Kankipadu in 1985, 1989 and 1994 and served as a minister in the NT Rama Rao cabinet.

After switching over to the N Chandrababu Naidu camp in 1996, when the TDP split, he later joined the Congress.

Nehru lost the elections in 1999 but was later elected in 2004 and defeated in 2009 and 2014.

▼ Internet pioneer Robert Taylor dies    [04-18-17]

Robert Taylor, a computer scientist who was instrumental in the creation of the internet and modern computer, has died. He was 85.

Taylor, who had suffered from Parkinson's disease, died on April 13th 2017 at his home in Woodside, California.

While many people played a role in building the internet, few made as many contributions as Taylor.

As a researcher for the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1966, Taylor created Arpanet, a single computer network to link each project with the others that would evolve into what we now know as the internet.

Taylor correctly predicted the network would one day become an efficient and necessary utility for the public.

In 1970, Taylor moved on to Xerox's famous Palo Alto Research Centre, where he oversaw design and creation of the Alto, considered a pioneer in personal computers.

Taylor's team also developed the networking technology Ethernet and a what-you-see-is-what-you-get word processing program called Bravo that would become the basis for Microsoft Word.

Taylor also played a key role in the creation of the computer mouse.

Taylor also developed AltaVista search engine in 1995, two years before Google was founded.

Robert Taylor : Know More

  • Taylor was born in Dallas on Feb. 10, 1932.
  • After serving in the US Navy Reserve during the Korean War, Taylor returned to his studies.
  • He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • In 1999, Taylor was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for visionary leadership.
  • In 2004, he and other PARC researchers were awarded the National Academy of Engineering's Draper Prize for development of "the first practical networked personal computers."
  • Taylor retired in 1996.

▼ Former J&K governor Girish Chandra Saxena dies    [04-17-17]

Former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Girish Chandra Saxena, whose tenure saw a significant decline of militancy in the Valley breathed his last on April 14, 2017.

Born in Agra in 1928, Saxena, an IPS officer of the 1950 batch of Uttar Pradesh cadre.

He also headed the country’s external intelligence agency RAW from 1983 to 1986,and is survived by his wife and two daughters.

He first took the charge as the Jammu and Kashmir Governor on May 26, 1990.

This was barely a few days after the religious head of Muslims in Srinagar Mirwaiz Malauvi Farooq was gunned down allegedly by militants of Hizbul Mujahideen.

He had succeeded Jagmohan, who quit owning moral responsibility for civilian killings which had taken place during the funeral procession of the Mirwaiz.

Saxena continued as the Governor till March 13, 1993 during which his focus was on winning the trust of the locals.

He was credited with the revival of intelligence gathering mechanism of the state police.

His experience at the RAW came in handy in discharging his duties from the Raj Bhavan.

After his first stint as the Governor, Saxena was again brought to the state in 1998.

He was lauded for his efforts which turned the state police into an effective counter insurgency force.

After his retirement from the RAW in 1986, Saxena served as an advisor to the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi as well.

List of J&K Governors: Know More

  • Karan Singh: First J&K governor
  • Bhagwan Sahay
  • Lakshmi Kant Jha
  • Braj Kumar Nehru
  • Jagmohan
  • K. V. Krishna Rao
  • Jagmohan
  • Girish Chandra Saxena
  • K. V. Krishna Rao: 2 time governor
  • Girish Chandra Saxena: Ex Raw Chief and IPS officer. 2 time governor
  • S.K. Sinha
  • Narinder Nath Vohra (present incumbent)

▼ Congress leader Akhilesh Das Gupta passes away   [04-13-17]

Akhilesh Das Gupta, the president of Badminton Association of India, has died after a massive heart attack. He was 56.

A prominent politician, the former Mayor of Lucknow, was a prominent figure in Indian badminton.

Akhilesh Das Gupta was also a Rajya Sabha MP for 18 years. A former badminton player, Das Gupta was the son of freedom fighter Babu Banarasi Das.

He changed Indian badminton for good ever since he took over from the then BAI chief VK Verma.

During Das Gupta’s tenure, Saina Nehwal earned a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, whereas PV Sindhu raised the profile of India badminton further, winning a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Besides this, Indian shuttlers too won many laurels during his regime.

His tenure as president of the Uttar Pradesh Olympic Association and the chairman of the UP Badminton Association in the recent past allegedly remained controversial.

He also had stakes in real estate, media and several educational institutions aside from an active interest in politics and sports.

Das, who is a former badminton player, was also the chairman of Badminton Association of India.

The educational institutions he had a stake in include engineering, management, medical and even a university named after his father in Lucknow.

BAI: Know More

  • Badminton Association of India (BAI) is the governing body of badminton in India.
  • BAI is an association registered under the societies act.
  • It was formed in 1934, and has been holding national-level tournaments in India since 1936.
  • BAI has 28 state members that conduct badminton tournaments and have a 2x voting power compared to the 8 affiliate members, who do not conduct tournaments and have a single vote each in the association.
  • It is headquartered in Lucknow, India.

▼ Literary critic M. Achuthan dies   [04-12-17]

Literary critic M Achuthan passed away on 9 April 2017 following age-related illness at a private hospital in Kochi. He was 87. He is survived by his wife and daughters.

Achuthan began his career as a critic by challenging the views of literary stalwarts Kuttikrishna Marar and Joseph Mundassery.

Achuthan had 10 works to his credit.

His book on the poems of Edassery is one of his noted works. His works include ‘Swathanthrya Samaravum Malayala Sahithyavum’, ‘Paschathya Sahitya Darshanam’ and ‘Cherukadha Innale Innu’ among others.

He had also served various stints in his career including his term as the Chief Public Relations Officer of the state, as the Director of State Institute of Publications, as the President of Sahithya Pravarthaka Sahakarana Sangham and as the President of Samastha Kerala Sahithya Parishat.

He translated Thousand and One Nights into Malayalam.

He was awarded with the Sahitiya Akademi award in 1976 for his literary works.

Born in June 1930, Achuthan completed his MA in Malayalam Literature with first rank.

▼ Spanish former defence minister Carme Chacon is no more   [04-11-17]

Spain's first female defence minister and a prominent socialist party leader, Carme Chacon has died on April 9, 2017. She was 46 and passed away on account of a heart condition she had since birth.

Chacon helped modernize Spain's armed forces when she took the helm of the Ministry of Defence in 2008, in the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Spain's socialist party, or PSOE paid rich tributes to Chacon.

Before taking charge of the Defence Ministry, she had previously been minister of housing and a national lawmaker.

When Zapatero stepped down in 2011, she ran for PSOE's top leadership, although she eventually lost the vote to former Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba.

Between 2012 and 2016, she had been in charge of the party's international relations, before she left politics to join a law firm in Madrid.

She is survived by her husband and son.

Carme Chacon: Know More

  • Born: 13 March 1971, Esplugues de Llobregat, Spain
  • Died: 9 April 2017, Madrid, Spain
  • Spouse: Miguel Barroso (m. 2007)
  • Education: University of Barcelona, University of Manchester

▼ Renowned vocalist Kishori Amonkar passes away   [04-4-17]

Renowned Hindustani classical vocalist Kishori Amonkar passed away on April 4, 2017 after a brief illness. She was 84.

Born on April 10, 1932 here, Amonkar was recognised as one of the foremost singers in the Hindustani tradition and as an innovative exponent of the Jaipur gharana.

A gharana is a group of musicians sharing a distinctive musical style.

Amonkar's mother was the well-known vocalist Mogubai Kurdikar, who trained under Alladiya Khan Saheb, the doyen of the Jaipur gharana.

She was known primarily for her skillful singing of classical khayal songs set in the traditional ragas of Hindustani music, but also performed the lighter classical thumri repertoire, bhajan, devotional songs and film music.

In recognition of her contribution to the arts, she received many awards, including the Padma Bhushan (1987) and Padma Vibhushan (2002), two of India's top civilian honours.

In 2010, she became a fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the national academy of music, arts, and dance.

▼ Gilbert Baker, inventor of gay pride flag, is no more    [04-3-17]

American artist Gilbert Baker who created the rainbow flag is recognized across the world as a symbol of gay pride.

Baker, who was 65, came up with the iconic eight-coloured banner for San Francisco's 1978 gay freedom day, a precursor to the modern pride festival, having taught himself to sew in his 20s.

The former soldier was deeply involved within the San Francisco LGBT rights movement and was a close friend of murdered activist and politician Harvey Milk.

The artist had died in his sleep at his home in New York on 30th March 2017.

Baker, born in Kansas in 1951, served for two years in the army, according to his website, and was stationed him in San Francisco just as the gay liberation movement was gathering momentum.

Gilbert Baker: Know More

  • Born: 2 June 1951, Chanute, Kansas, United States
  • Died: 31 March 2017, New York City, New York, United States
  • Residence: New York City, New York, United States
  • Movies: Milk

Chronology of events
James Rosenquist, a leading pioneer of Pop Art passed away in New York. He was 83. He was known for appropriating industrial painting methods to cultivate his bold, graphic style. He had transitioned from a commercial sign-painter to a fine artist.
Veteran Malayalam actor Munshi Venu passed away on April 13, at a palliative care centre at Chalakudy, Thrissur. The 63-year-old actor suffered a kidney failure and was undergoing a dialysis treatment for the same.
Progressive rock and jazz fusion guitar pioneer Allan Holdsworth passed away on 15 April 2017 in California, U.S. He was 70.