People’s Union for Democratic Rights expresses its sincere condolences on the death of Professor Rajni Kothari, public intellectual, civil rights activist and institution builder. A leading intellectual, Prof. Rajni Kothari’s academic pursuits emerged from his democratic commitments and deep concern for the marginalised and deprived sections of society. Prof. Kothari was not satisfied with his personal contributions and successfully demonstrated the path to being an institution builder. He was instrumental in setting up the Centre for Studies of Developing Societies, Lokayan, amongst others.
As an activist he has made a valuable contribution to the civil rights movement in India as General Secretary and President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). PUDR remembers Prof. Kothari with fond gratitude for his readiness to commit PUCL to the joint responsibility, along with PUDR to publish “Who are the Guilty?” a report on the anti-Sikh massacre in Delhi in 1984. The decision demonstrated the courage of conviction, and the collaboration helped both organizations weather the storm brought upon them by the then ruling party Congress I, whose leaders had been named by survivors to be allegedly involved in instigating and leading mobs of rioters.
PUDR salutes the memory of Prof. Kothari and vows to keep striving to remain true to the democratic commitments his life represents.
Megha Bahl and Sharmila Purkayastha
23 January, 2015