Bengaluru: Renowned religious orator and Padma Shri awardee Ibrahim Sutar, who had earned the recognition of Kannada Kabir, died due to cardiac arrest in Bagalkote district on Saturday.
The government has ordered his last rites to be performed with full state honours.
According to family sources, he suffered a heart attack this morning and was rushed to the nearby hospital, but could not be saved.
Sutar is 81 and is survived by wife, a son and two daughters.
Born on May 10, 1940, Sutar had been educated only up to Class 3, but his craving for spirituality led him to study Hindu scriptures besides Islamic books.
He was also fascinated by the writings of the saints of Karnataka and other parts of India. In 1970, he had set up Harmony Folk Music Mela comprising a team of artists who started giving religious discourse in the neighbouring villages.
The Kannada Kabir in his orations always emphasised upon the religious harmony between Hindus and Muslims and was authority on Srimad Bhagwad Gita as well as Quran, people who knew him said.
Sutar was a torchbearer of the Sufiism and had his discourses dotted with quotes from Sanskrit Shlokas, 'Doha' (Hindi couplets) of Sant Kabir, Rahim and the sayings of great saints of Karnataka. Recognising his contribution to the society, the Government of India had conferred on him Padma Shri award in 2018.
Condoling his death, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said Sutar was a symbol of religious harmony who gave 'Pravachan' (religious discourse) on the Hindu scriptures.
"I am deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Padma Shri awardee Ibrahim Sutar, the religious orator. May God bestow peace upon him, who had toiled to sow the seed of communal harmony in the society, and give strength to the family to bear the loss," Bommai tweeted.
Union minister Pralhad Joshi, ministers in the Bommai government including Govind Karjol, Murugesh Nirani, Dr C N Ashwath Narayan and former chief ministers Siddaramaiah, B S Yeddiyurappa and H D Kumaraswamy joined many others in mourning Sutar's death.