Eminent historian and theatre personality Balwant Moreshwar Purandare, popularly known as Babasaheb Purandare, died at a hospital in Pune on Monday morning, NDTV reported. He was 99.
Purandare wrote several books on Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji. In the 1980s, he directed a play on the 17th-century king’s life, titled Jaanta Raja, which became hugely popular.
Purandare was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India, in 2019.
The historian had been diagnosed with pneumonia a week ago, PTI reported. He was admitted to the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune.
Purandare was on ventilator support at the hospital’s intensive care unit. His condition worsened on Sunday, a doctor at the hospital told the news agency. Purandare died at 5 am on Monday, according to ANI.
The historian’s last rites will be performed at the Vaikunth crematorium in Pune at 10.30 am on Monday, India Today reported.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed sorrow at Purandare’s death. “The demise of Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare leaves a major void in the world of history and culture,” he said in a tweet. “It is thanks to him that the coming generations will get further connected to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. His other works will also be remembered.”
Modi added that the Purandare will live on through his works. “In this sad hour, my thoughts are with his family and countless admirers,” he said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a state funeral for the historian.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut also paid a tribute to the historian. “You enriched our lives,” Raut said. “Maharashtra will always be in your debt.”