Dr. N. Rathna passes away

Dr. N. Rathna passes away

June 19, 2024

Former AIISH Director and theatre personality dies in Bengaluru; Body to be donated to JSS Hospital, Mysuru, as per his wish

Mysore/Mysuru: Dr. Natesh Rathna (89), popularly known as Na. Rathna, former Director of All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH) and a theatre personality, passed away following a heart attack at his son’s residence in Indiranagar, Bengaluru, at about 6.30 am today.

He leaves behind his wife Premalatha Rathna, son Ajith Rathna, daughter Kavitha Rathna and a host of relatives, friends and students.

The mortal remains were brought from Bengaluru to his residence in Saraswathipuram, Mysuru, at about 1.30 pm and was kept for public to pay their last respects. It was later shifted to Rangayana for theatre enthusiasts and dignitaries to pay their respects.

The body will be donated to JSS Medical College and Hospital in city later in the   day as per his wish.


Born on Dec. 12, 1934 to Dr. A.M. Natesh and Vittobai Ammal at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu, Dr. Rathna completed his SSLC (1950) at Maharaja’s High School in Mysuru, Intermediate (1950-1952) at Yuvaraja’s College and BA in English Literature (1952-1955) at Maharaja’s College and B.Ed (1955-1956) at the Institute of Education, Mysuru.

Dr. Rathna then went on to do his MS in Education of the Blind at Hunter University, New York between 1956 and 1957, MS in Speech and Audiology at Gallaudet College, Washington DC between 1957 and 1958, MAT in Speech and Audiology at Indiana University, Bloomington and went on to complete his Doctorate in Education in Special Education and Education Administration at Indiana University in Bloomington, USA.

Dr. Rathna had served as the Director of AIISH, Mysuru (1987-89); Director at Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Hearing (1985-87), Reader/Professor and Joint Director at AIISH, Mysuru (1965-85). He had also served in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare at New Delhi, Principal at Red Cross Society for the Blind and Deaf at Bhubaneshwar in Orrisa, Speech Therapist and Scientific Pool Officer at AIIPMR and Nair Hospital in Mumbai, Research Assistant at the Speech Clinic in Indiana University, Bloomington and a teacher for the deaf at Indiana State School for the Deaf at Indianapolis in USA.

Dr. Rathna had also held the post of the Project Director at the District Rehabilitation Centre, Mysuru; former President of the Indian Speech and Hearing Association; Member of Board of Studies and Examiners at University of Mysore and University of Bombay and Part time Lecturer in Dramatics at the University of Mysore Fine Arts College among others.

Dr. Rathna, who established ‘Samathentho’ theatre group, involved in scripting plays and theatre activities. He has written many plays including Ellige, Gode beke Gode, Bonthe, Punarjanma, Bhinna Benaka, Bolacharige Namana, Kesrinalli Kerita and Obba Manushyanige eshtu Jameenu Beku among others.

Dr. Rathna has written, acted and directed many plays in Kannada and English. He also acted in several Kannada films, including Rishyashringa, which earned him the Best Supporting Actor award by Government of Karnataka. Dr. Rathna had also scripted a children’s film Chor Chor Chupja, on elective-mutism emphasising the importance of positive human relationships besides scripting and acting in a variety of public educational films on adult literacy.


Dr. Rathna is a recipient of many awards including Nataka Akademy Award in 2005, Kannada Rajyothsava Award in 2013, M.N. Roy Award, B.V. Karanth Award and Helen Keller Award among others.


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