A VISIONARY who helped develop the largest institute of Indian arts and culture in the heart of West Kensington has died.
Patriot and devout Hindu Mathoor Krishnamurti became executive director of the Bharayita Vidya Bhavan centre, in Castletown Road, in 1972, and oversaw its move into Hammersmith and Fulham from a tiny office in Oxford Street.
His vision was to replicate the centre founded in Mumbai in 1938 for Indian immigrants in London and it regularly holds summer schools and classes for local schools and other cultural events.
He died at the age of 82 last week surrounded by family and friends at his home in Bangalore.
Born to a scholarly Brahmin family, Mr Krishnamurti worked as a newspaper reporter in the southern Indian state of Karnataka before moving to the UK in the 1960s.
He received more than 20 awards in his native country including the Padma Shri, the fourth highest award for a civilian.
During his time at the helm, he welcomed the likes of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and British Prime Minister's James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher.
His son-in-law Dr Manu Nandakumara, current centre director, said: “Mathoorji has been the source of inspiration in our work at the Bhavan. He totally dedicated himself to the cause of the Bhavan and worked tirelessly 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“He would often mention to me, 'Nanda, I hope and pray that even as I conclude my life’s journey may I still be working'. He was a selfless crusader for the cause of India’s rich culture and heritage, which he was able to do through the Bhavan.”
Former chairman Manceck Dalal OBE said: “Not only are we deeply sorry and extremely saddened but we wish to place on record our deep gratitude and admiration for his enormous and incomparable contribution to the UK centre.
“Mathoor was much loved, greatly admired and respected for all he stood for, and his loss, not only to the UK Centre, but to the Bhavan movement is enormous.”
Mr Krishnamurti was given a state funeral by the Karnataka State Government in his village of Mattru on October 7.