10 May 2022
It is with great sadness that we learnt of the untimely death of Rakesh Nautiyal on 12 April 2022 due to natural causes. Rakesh was a long-standing colleague, who taught Hindi to generations of students at SOAS until he left in 2020.
Rakesh came from a village near Mussoorie, now part of Uttarakhand, and spent most of his life in Mussoorie, where, after a spell in journalism, he taught Hindi for many years at Landour Language School. Indeed, Hindi teaching and the news were his abiding passions. When not teaching, he would follow Indian political news closely and scour the internet news channels for interesting stories to teach in class.
Rakesh started teaching SOAS students on the Hindi Year Abroad programme in Lucknow in the late 90s, and then came to London and started working at SOAS in 2001. Extremely friendly and approachable, he was a favourite with students and was always happy to offer an extra class, or extra time for catch-up. SOAS was his life, and he could often be found having a smoke by the main entrance of SOAS, chatting with some student or colleague.
With Rakesh's passing we have lost a kind and extremely generous friend who will be remembered with great affection. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family in India, and to his many friends and former students around the world. May he rest in peace.
Written by Francesca Orsini, Professor Emerita of Hindi and South Asian Literature