Noted scholar, author and activist Smitu Kothari passed away today early morning (India time 23rd March 6 a.m.). He died of a cardiac attack after having undergone a heart surgery yesterday at AIIMS in Delhi. The cremation will be held at Lodi Road electric Crematorium in South Delhi at 4pm on the 23rd March.
Smithu was attending 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 on the 20th afternoon, when he had a cardiac attack. From Indian Social Institute, he was rushed to All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He was discharged the same day as his ECG was found to be normal. However, on 21st, doctors did detail investigations, where it was found out that he had already developed a serious rupture on his main artery and an immediate surgery was undertaken on the 22nd. However, that also could not help him as he collapsed during post-operative care to a cardiac arrest today early morning.
Smitu Kothari is one of the founders of Lokayan ("Dialogue of the People"), and Intercultural Resources, two centres in Delhi, India 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 is 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 has been a visiting Professor at Cornell and Princeton Universities. He is President of the International Group for Grassroots Initiatives and a Contributing Editor of The Ecologist and of Development. He has 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.
Among the books he has edited are: 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); and, 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.