In the demise of Shri Ramaswamy R Iyer the INSEE lost a member with great diversity of interests. Not having initial education in either ecology or economics, Ramaswamy gathered deep interest in these subjects while handling issues related to the natural environment in professional life, especially during his tenure as Secretary, MoWR. As a result, he became much interested in INSEE. In Ramaswamy there was a simple person with great human values. He was able to relate to others, from young people to senior professionals. He was a person of diverse intellectual sensitivities, ranging from Karnatic music to water laws and governance.
My association with Ramaswamy started in 1989 and continued as long he was alive. The longest and most intense interaction between Ramaswamy and me was during the two years we were part of a team analysing the proposal for inter-linking of rivers in India. It was also a process of learning together to understand the unsaid implications of the links, if and when undertaken. Our last interaction was about 10 days before he passed away and related to making continued efforts on the creation of a consciousness in India on the urgent need for a holistic water policy and new laws on water. And probably in this subject area he has made the most lasting contribution through his numerous newspaper articles and several books.
In his demise, the movement for holistic water systems management in India lost an important activist. This is also true for organizations like the INSEE, where inter-disciplinary thinking constitutes the lifeline.