The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) said people's movements in the country will remember Prof. Rajni Kothari as one of most influential public thinkers of our times who theorized the role of people's movements in India and the third world and whose work continues to provide intellectual sustenance to the movements and the civil society at large. It is indeed a great loss to the people's movements of India that Prof. Rajni Kothari is no more with us.
Medha Patkar and others from NAPM pays a heartfelt tribute to Prof. Rajni Kothari, our saathi and our guide in the struggles for people's rights, democracy and justice. They observed combining academics and activism, merging research and action, uniting intellectual and political work, Prof. Kothari's contribution to the realm of people's movements has been immense.
Further, they said, his critiques to established development paradigm and political systems accelerated his quest for alternatives that operated outside the framework of mainstream politics and brought him even closer to the space of people's movements.
His direct involvement in the resistance against the Emergency and later through People's Union of Civil Liberty (PUCL) as well as constant involvement with struggles for people's rights and civil liberties over decades speak volumes about his committed activism. He was the first signatory to letter on Narmada issue to the then Prime Minister Mr. Rajiv Gandhi and since then, continued to be a pillar of support to various movements.
NAPM recalled him as an inspiration and a mentor to generations of social scientists and activists alike. He founded CSDS and Lokayan, which are the premier platforms of research and interaction between intellectuals and activists respectively, and have been taking forward his belief that intellectuals must intervene in the political processes by linking critical ideas to political debates. His books and articles on themes such as politics, democracy, politicisation of caste, development, alternatives, have been guiding texts to understand and engage with the contemporary realities of India.
Through his tireless work as an ideologue, a scholar and an activist, NAPM said he has left behind the legacy that attempts can indeed be made to produce a knowledge that goes beyond explaining the world to changing it.