Year ender 2022: Eminent personalities whom we lost this year

Starting from the melody queen Lata Mangeshkar up to noted researcher Ajay Kumar Parida, their sad demise has left a deep void that can hardly be filled.

Birju Maharaj

Kathak legend Birju Maharaj, who was diagnosed with kidney disease and put on dialysis, died at his home in New Delhi on January 16. He was 83.

It is said that Maharaj Ji was playing with his grandsons when his health unexpectedly deteriorated, requiring him to be rushed to the hospital, where he died due to cardiac arrest.

A recipient of the country’s second highest civilian honour – Padma Vibhushan, Maharaj Ji was a lifelong Kathak guru, talented Hindustani classical singer and percussionist.

Maharaj Ji taught at the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Kathak Kendra, both in Delhi, from where he retired as director in 1998.

Lata Mangeshkar

Legendary singer and Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar passed away at a private hospital in Mumbai on February 6. She was 92.

Lata was not keeping well after being infected with Covid-19. Her condition deteriorated and the doctors put her back on ventilator support.

She breathed her last while undergoing treatment at the Breach Candy Hospital.

The entire Mangeshkar clan, including two sisters Asha Bhonsle and Usha Mangeshkar, lone brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar and other family members were present at the hospital.

Lata was admitted to hospital on January 9 following various health issues, including Covid-19.

Praveen Kumar Sobti

Popular TV and film actor Praveen Kumar Sobti, who became a household name after he played the mythological character ‘Bheem’ in BR Chopra’s ‘Mahabharat’, breathed his last following a heart attack February 7 evening. He was 74.

Praveen Kumar had also played the role of ‘Saaboo’ in Chacha Chaudhary (comic TV series) for several episodes. After the Mahabharat, he acted in more than 30 films.

Before stepping into acting profession, Praveen Kumar was a hammer and discus throw athlete. In Asian Games, he had won four medals including 2 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze. He also represented India in two Olympic Games – Mexico Games (1968) and Munich Games (1972).

Praveen Kumar was appointed as Deputy Commandant in Border Security Force under sports quota.

Bappi Lahiri

Veteran singer-music director Bappi Lahiri also fondly known as ‘Bappi Da’ in the film industry — who wielded the baton at the age of 17 — passed away in Mumbai on February 15.

He was 69 and breathed his last in the Criticare Hospital where he was admitted for certain post-Covid complications.

Born in West Bengal, Lahiri first composed music for a Bengali film ‘Daadu’ and launched his Bollywood career with a film, ‘Nanha Shikari’.

He shot to global fame with his chartbusting music for ‘Disco Dancer’ and the song ‘Jimmy, Jimmy, Aaja, Aaja…’, and later the superhit music for ‘Zakhmee’, ‘Lahu Ke Do Rang’.

Shivkumar Sharma

Legendary santoor maestro and internationally acclaimed music composer Pandit Shivkumar Sharma passed away following a cardiac arrest on May 10. He was 84.

Pandit Sharma is survived by his wife Manorama and two sons, one of whom Rahul Sharma is also an accomplished santoor player. The Jammu-born musician was suffering from kidney-related ailment over the last six months and was on dialysis.

Sharma, who elevated the santoor, once a little-known musical instrument from Jammu and Kashmir, to its present exalted global status, will also be remembered for the music he composed with the flute legend Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia for films such as ‘Silsila’, ‘Lamhe’, ‘Chandni’ and ‘Darr’.

Krishnakumar Kunnath

Despite feeling very uneasy, popular playback singer Krishnakumar Kunnath aka KK did complete his scheduled time of performance on May 31 evening as per the contract he had entered into with Kolkata-based Gurudas College.

KK died at the age of 53 years following his last performance at Nazrul Manch in South Kolkata. He was rushed to his hotel room in central Kolkata after he complained of uneasiness. Later, he was shifted to a local hospital, where he was declared ‘brought dead’.

According to eyewitnesses and organisers of the show, the singer was constantly requesting to switch off the spotlights and at intervals he was going backstage to take rest for a while. However, he did not express his desire to quit the show in between leading to his untimely demise.

Bhupinder Singh

Veteran playback singer, ghazal maestro and musician Bhupinder Singh, who sang scores of bollywood numbers in his heavy bass voice, passed away on July 18 evening.

He was suffering from several health complications, including urological issues. Last rites of the 82-year-old singer were performed at the Oshiwara crematorium.

It was the renowned bollywood music director Madan Mohan, who first recognised his singing talent and gave him much-needed break as a playback singer in ‘Haqeeqat’.

Later, Bhupinder Singh sung for most of the top music composers during the 1960s-2000s, giving many hit songs, and also played guitar and violin for many songs, besides singing in other Indian languages.

Abhijit Sen

Well-known economist and former member of the Planning Commission, Abhijit Sen, passed away on August 29 night following a heart attack. He was 72.

Sen taught economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and later held many key positions in his four-decade-long career.

Apart from being a member of the Commission between 2004 and 2014 during the UPA regime, he also worked as chairman of the Agriculture Ministry’s Commission of Agricultural Cost and Prices (CACP) in 1997, when the United Front Government was in power.

The CACP under his chairmanship was given the task of recommending minimum support prices (MSPs) for various commodities. Prior to joining the JNU’s centre for Economics studies in 1985, Sen taught economics at Oxford, Cambridge, Sussex and Essex.

Cyrus Mistry

Noted young industrialist Cyrus P Mistry (54) of the multinational Shapoorji Pallonji Group and former chairman of Tata Sons was killed in a road mishap on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai national highway in Maharashtra’s Palghar on September 4.

Mistry and three others apparently became victims of ‘over-speeding’ as the car hit a highway divider with full force on the River Surya bridge passing the national highway.

Impact of the crash was so powerful that although the car’s airbags popped open, they failed to save the occupants and the ill-fated dark-grey Mercedes was left badly damaged.

Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati

Dwarka Peeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati passed away on September 11. He was 99. The Hindu religious leader breathed his last at Shridham Jhoteshwar Ashram in Narsinghpur district of Madhya Pradesh.

Shankaracharya died of cardiac arrest. He was on dialysis and put on and off ventilator for the last couple of months prior to his death. He was also suffering from old age-related issues and was a diabetic.

Swami Ji was also the Shankaracharya of Sharada and Jyotir Peeths.

Swami Ji was born as Pothiram Upadhyay at Dighori village in Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh in 1924. He had left his home in pursuit of God at the age of nine. He became the Shankaracharya in 1981.

Raju Srivastava

Comedian Raju Srivastava, who became a household name in his delightful ‘Gajodhar Bhaiyya’ persona, breathed his last on September 21 at the age of 59 years. The popular comedian battled for his life for 43 days in hospital.

Born on December 25, 1963, Satya Prakash, who later became famous as Raju, came from a middle-class family in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Srivastava was better known for his earthy humour and inimitable delivery style.

He passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), where he was rushed on August 9 after he complained of chest pain and collapsed in the South Delhi gym where he was working out.

Srivastava was at once moved to the Intensive Care Unit and put on ventilator support. Doctors then said that he suffered brain damage and was in coma for quite long days.

Mulayam Singh Yadav

Samajwadi Party founder and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav passed away due to prolonged illness on October 10. He was 82.

Mulayam was kept on ventilator support at Medanta Hospital in Gurugram after his health condition deteriorated on October 2. He was undergoing treatment at the hospital since August 22.

The veteran leader had played prominent role in UP politics for many decades. He was appointed thrice as the CM of Uttar Pradesh. He was elected to the Assembly eight times in 1967, 1974, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1996.

The former SP supremo remained the CM during 1989-1991, 1993-1995 and 2003-2007. He was elected to the Lok Sabha for seven times in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019.

Shyam Saran Negi

Three days after casting his vote for the 34th time, India’s first voter Shyam Saran Negi died on November 5, 2022 at his home in Kalpa of Himachal Pradesh. He was 106.

Negi, who was the Election Commission’s brand ambassador, voted for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly election through postal ballot on November 2. It was the last vote for the man who was 31 when India gained Independence. Negi was not just the first voter of Independent India, but a man with exceptional faith in democracy. He inspired millions to vote, even before his demise.

The elderly man was a school teacher in Kalpa. Although most of the polling for that first election took place in February 1952, Himachal Pradesh went to the polls six months early.

Gulam Abbas Moontasir

Former India basketball captain and Arjuna awardee, Gulam Abbas Moontasir, passed away in Mumbai on November 15. He was 80.

Abbas was born in Mumbai in 1942. He started playing in Nagpada by the American missionaries, later he started getting inclined towards basketball. He has always been an aggressive player with a unique physical style on the court starting from Nagpada Basketball Association to the International stage.

Abbas’s basketball debut came in 1960 in an exhibition game played against Australia. He captained the national team in the 1969 and 1975 Asian Basketball Championships in Bangkok.

The elderly player was part of the Indian team at the 1970 Asian Games, which finished sixth after topping a group that also contained China, Thailand and Malaysia.


Mihir Das

Veteran Odia actor Mihir Das passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Cuttack on Jan 11. The 63-year-old actor was suffering from kidney ailments for past few years.

Mihir was admitted to a private hospital after his condition deteriorated on December 7, 2021. He was on ventilator support at the hospital. However, doctors failed to save the actor.

The actor is survived by his son Amlan Das. The versatile actor has acted in over hundreds of Odia films and TV soaps. He has won numerous awards including the State Film Award for the Best Actor several times in the past. He received Best Actor award for ‘Laxmi Pratima’ in 1998 and ‘Pheria Mo Suna Bhauni’ in 2005.

Mihir had bagged the Best Supporting Actor award for ‘Rakhi Bhandhili Mo Rakhiba Mana’ in 2002 and ‘Prema Adhei Akhyara’ in 2010 from the State government.

Shanti Devi

Renowned social worker and Padma Shri awardee Shanti Devi passed away at his residence in Gunupur of Rayagada district on January 16 night. She was 88.

Shanti Devi complained of chest pain and fell unconscious. Later, a doctor of local hospital reached her residence and declared the elderly woman ‘dead’.

She had received the prestigious Padma Shri award from President Ram Nath Kovind on November 9, 2021. Born in Balasore district in 1934, Shanti Devi was known for her philanthropic activities.

She had immense contribution towards restoring peace in the Maoist-infested areas of the State. She was also spearheading a voluntary organisation named Seva Samaj.

Hemananda Biswal

Former Odisha Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Hemananda Biswal breathed his last on February 25. He was 82.

Biswal died while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar. He was admitted to the healthcare facility fdue to old age-related complications.

Born on December 1, 1939 at Thakurpada in Jharsuguda, Biswal served as the CM of Odisha twice – from 7 December 1989 to 5 March 1990 and from 6 December 1999 to 5 March 2000.

He was the first tribal CM. He was elected as an MP from Sundargarh constituency in 2009. He was also elected as an MLA for six times from Laikera constituency of the district.

Prafulla Kar

Odisha’s legendary musician Prafulla Kar passed away on April 18. He was 83. The veteran singer was suffering from old age-related ailments.

Kar breathed his last at his residence at Satya Nagar in Bhubaneswar at around 10 pm. He is survived by his wife Manorama Kar and children Mahaprasad Kar, Sandhyadipa Kar and Mahadeep Kar.

A pall of gloom descended on the Ollywood fraternity after the demise of Kar.

Born on 16 February 1939 in Puri, Kar was an eminent musician, singer, lyricist, writer and columnist.

He became a household name in Odisha with his song ‘Kamala Desha Rajakumara’. He received the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2015. He was also the recipient of Jayadev Award in 2004.

Binapani Mohanty

Eminent litterateur Padma Shri Binapani Mohanty died on April 24 evening in Cuttack. She was 85. She was honoured with Atibadi Jagannath Das award, Sahitya Akademi Award and Sarala Samman.

Binapani Mohanty has carved a niche for herself in the field of Odia fiction writing. Her literary career as a story-teller began with the publication of ‘Gotie Ratira Kahani’ in 1960.

Some of her best known stories are Pata Dei, Khela Ghara, Naiku Rasta, Bastraharana, Andhakarara, Kasturi Murga O Sabuja Aranya and Michhi Michhika.

It was the collection of short stories entitled ‘Pata Dei and other Stories’, which won the litterateur Sahitya Akademi award in 1990. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2020.

Rajat Kar

Eminent litterateur Padma Shri Rajat Kar passed away on May 8 evening while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar. He was 88.

Kar complained of chest pain. His family members rushed him to the health facility where doctor declared the elderly man ‘dead’. His son Ranjit Kumar Kar informed that the litterateur died of cardiac arrest at the hospital while undergoing treatment.

Kar was a household name for his lively commentary of the World famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath on TV channels and radio, apart from being a judge in different literary programmes.

Sivaji Patnaik

Renowned CPI (M) leader and former Odisha parliamentarian Sivaji Patnaik passed away at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar on May 23. He was 91.

The Communist Party leader breathed his last at around 2.10 pm at a private hospital in Unit-III locality. He earlier was admitted to the health facility the previous day in the afternoon as his potassium level deteriorated.

Patnaik was elected to the Lok Sabha thrice from Bhubaneswar. He was member of Lower House of the Parliament between 1977 and 1980. Further, he represented the Capital City in Lok Sabha constituency segment from 1989 to 1996.

Ajay Kumar Parida

Dr Ajay Kumar Parida, director of Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar, breathed his last in Guwahati on July 19. He was 58.

Parida was on a visit to Assam to attend a conference. The noted researcher suffered a massive cardiac arrest during sleep at night. The post-mortem of his body was conducted after arrival of his family members. Later, the body was flown to Bhubaneswar for the last rites.

Researcher Parida significantly contributed to the fields of agriculture, plant molecular biology and biotechnology. He was conferred with Padma Shri in 2014 by former President Pranab Mukherjee.

Born in Bhagabanpur village of Jajpur, Parida also served as the executive director of MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai during 2009-2017.

Nirmala Mishra

Eminent singer of Odia and Bengali film industries Nirmala Mishra passed away in the wee hours of July 31 at around 2 am. She was 81.

The popular singer died at her residence in Chetala locality of Kolkata. She was suffering from old age-related complications for the last few days. However, she succumbed to a cardiac arrest.

Nirmala had rendered her voice in a number of Odia films during 1960s and 1970s. Some of those are: ‘Nida Bhara Rati Madhu Jhara Janha’, ‘Mo Mana Binara Tare’, ‘Jibana Jamunare Juara Uthere’, ‘Mayaghera Madhubane’ and ‘Ja Jare Bhasija Manapabana Nauka’.

Nirmala worked with several renowned and contemporary Odia music directors namely Balakrushna Dash, Akshaya Mohanty, Rakhal Mohanty and Shantanu Mohapatra. She rendered her voice in more than 20 Odia films.

Jayanti Patnaik

Erstwhile Chief Minister Janaki Ballabh Patnaik’s wife and former parliamentarian Jayanti Patnaik breathed her last on September 28. She was 90.

Jayanti was rushed to a private hospital in Bhubaneswar after she developed certain health-related complications at around 8 pm, but died while undergoing treatment.

Jayanti was elected to Lok Sabha from Cuttack and Berhampur segments. She was the first chairperson of National Commission for Women and the second chairperson of All India Mahila Congress.

Born on April 7, 1932, she completed her graduation in Sociology from Shailabala Women’s Autonomous College in Cuttack. She did her PG from Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai.

Jharana Das

Eminent Odia actress Jharana Das died at her residence near Chandi Chhak in Cuttack, late December 1 night. She was suffering from old age-related complications. She was 77.

Born in 1945, Das started her acting career in the 60s and had won the hearts of moviegoers with her performance in films like ‘Shree Jagannath’, ‘Nari’, ‘Adinamegha’, ‘Hisab-nikas’, ‘Pujafula’, ‘Amadabata’, ‘Abhinetri’, ‘Malajanha’ and ‘Heera Neela’.

The veteran actress was awarded with the prestigious ‘Jayadev Puraskar’ by the State government for her contribution to the Odia film industry. Das had also worked as a child artist and announcer with the All India Radio (AIR) in Cuttack.

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