Noted scholar, author and activist Smitu Kothari passed away on the early  morning of March  23, 2009 after a cardiac surgery at AIIMS in Delhi. He was in Delhi to attend a Delhi Solidarity Group meeting with Himalaya Niti Abhiyan friends and others to discuss strategies and support for the people’s struggles in Himachal Pradesh against displacement, mining and environmental destruction.


Smitu Kothari was one of the founders of Lokayan (“Dialogue of the People”), and Intercultural Resources, two centers in Delhi, promoting exchange between non-party political formations and concerned scholars and other citizens from India and the rest of the world. Trained in physics, communications and sociology, he was involved in ecological, cultural and human rights issues striving to collectively forge a national and global alternative that is socially just and ecologically sane. He had been a visiting Professor at Cornell and Princeton Universities. He was the President of the International Group for Grassroots Initiatives and a Contributing Editor of The Ecologist and of Development. He published extensively on critiques of contemporary economic and cultural development, the relationship of nature, culture and democracy, developmental displacement, people’s governance and social movements. Smitu was always a source of inspiration and support to not just people’s movements and struggles in India, but also to voices of dissent and alternatives across the globe.


Smitu edited the following  books: Voices of Struggle: Social Movements in Asia (2006); Voices of Sanity, In Search of Democratic Space (2002); A Watershed in Global Governance? An Independent Assessment of the World Commission on Dams; The Value of Nature: Ecological Politics in India (2003); Out of the Nuclear Shadow (with Zia Mian, 2001); Rethinking Human Rights: Challenges for Theory and Action (1991); The Non-Party Political Process: Uncertain Alternatives (with H. Sethi, 1988).  He was currently working on a new book, Ecological Justice: Nature, Culture and Democracy.

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