Hundreds of people, including officials, academicians, faculty, students and local journalists bid a tearful adieu when his mortal remains were consigned to flames at Beedinagudde crematorium in the town, about 400 km from Bangalore.
The last rites were performed by Kamath’s nephew, as he had no children.
Before the last journey, Kamath’s body was kept at MGM College in the temple town to enable people pay last respects and was later taken to his ancestral house at Kadabettu for conducting rituals.
In his condolence message, Modi said Kamath’s demise was a loss to the world of literature and journalism.
“A prolific writer and fine human being, M.V. Kamath’s demise is a loss to the world of literature and journalism. May his soul rest in peace,” Modi tweeted earlier in the day.
State Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake and Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner Pattanna Shetty attended the funeral.
After six decades of illustrious journalistic career in India and overseas, Kamath returned to his home town in mid-1990s and guided the privately-run Manipal University in setting up the school of communication for grooming journalists and other media professionals. He was its honorary director since inception in 1997.
“Even in old age, Kamath was active and sharp despite suffering from spondylosis. He celebrated his 93rd birthday Sep 7 in the institute with faculty and students,” communication institute director Alex Chandy told IANS here.
According to another nephew (Jairam), Kamath was ailing for sometime from old-age related health problems and was admitted to Kasturba Hospital at Manipal a few days ago.
“Kamath’s last wish was not to keep his body for long,” Jairam told IANS over phone in Mumbai earlier Thursday.
Born Sep 7, 1921 at Udupi, Madhav Vittal Kamath was a science graduate and initially worked as a chemist for five years before switching over to journalism.
Awarded Padma Bhushan in 2004, Kamath penned 45 books, including “Gandhi – A Spiritual Journey”, “Reporter At Large”, and co-authored “Narendra Modi – The Architect of a Modern State” (2009) with Mumbai based academician Kalindi Randeri.
Kamath started media career with Mumbai’s venerable daily, the Free Press Journal, as a reporter in 1946 and also worked for its eveninger, Free Press Bulletin.
Later, Kamath joined the Times of India Group and was editor of the Sunday Times during 1967-69. He was also the Times of India’s Washington correspondent for nearly 10 years, before returning in 1978 to serve as editor of the erstwhile Illustrated Weekly of India news-magazine till 1981.
Kamath also served in New Delhi, Washington, Paris, Geneva, New York and other centres in various capacities.
After his retirement in 1981, Kamath opted to settle down in Mumbai and continued writing books and columns for various national and international publications, including his “alma mater”, the Free Press Journal, till a fortnight before his death.
“At every Independence and Republic Day parades, Kamath used to narrate stories of how India got freedom and recall scenes from those momentous times with emotion,” Chandy recalled.
Manipal University chancellor Ramdas M. Pai said Kamath was dear to all at Manipal and a source of inspiration to students of the communication institute.
“In his death, we have lost a treasure. He was responsible for the growth of the institute, which is among the best communication schools in the country. He will be missed by every student and faculty alike,” Pai noted.