One of the greatest legends of Kannada culture passed away on Wednesday, and this is how his fans paid homage to him:

Rajkumar was truly the ‘prince’ of Kannada cinema. He was not just a great actor, but an icon of Kannada culture. To quote my friend KS, “Put Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bacchan into one person, and you have Rajkumar”. He was a simple man, who never got into politics. Post the Veerappan kidnapping, the state’s respect for him grew twice fold. In fact, he even suffered from a mild form of Stockholm syndrome following his kidnap. He respected his fans as if they were gods, referring to them as abhimani devargalu.

...and this is what they gave him in return.

Apparently the agitated fans went on a rampage because they were denied a glimpse of their Annavaru (elder brother), and thought that attacking the police and destroying public property would prove a point. 5 people have been reported dead after yesterday’s violence.

A friend of mine who happens to know the Rajkumar family was appalled at the attitude of the kannadigas who had come to pay their last respects. ‘Fans’ had destroyed the compound wall of the star, turning into actors themselves by faking sorrow every time a camera appeared in front of them. He told me that “Karnataka witnessed two deaths yesterday, the death of one of the greatest icons of Kannada culture, and the death of culture amongst Bangaloreans.”

Up north, young Javed Mohammed breathed his last after succumbing to third degree burns. Javed single-handedly rescued six children from a devastating fire at Meerut three days ago. His family members believe that he died due to medical negligence, and they resorted to throwing stones at the hospital where he was admitted.

Thursday was a sad day. A day of many deaths. The death of a celluloid hero, the death of a real hero, and the death of basic human respect.

May their souls rest in peace.