Category Archives: Memoriam


Shri V B Eswaran

Shri V B Eswaran

Second September, 2016 was a dark day for most people associated with ecological and environmental movement in India. Dear V B Eswaran breathed his last on that day in New Delhi. He is survived by his good wife Girija jee, sons Somanathan and Sridharan, daughters-in-law Rohini and Divya and grand children.

For all those who have some links with research and development of policies on environment and ecological sustainability, Shri Eswaran was the doyen on this front from India. He belonged to the Gujarat  cadre of Indian Administrate Services, having served there in various capacities. Later on, he moved to the Central government, and retired as Expenditure Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. But all along his career as an able administrator, his own first love was conservation of energy, development of sustainable water and forest ecosystems and making natural resources available to the poorest of the poor in the country.

His earliest entry on these front began, perhaps around 1980 when he used to visit Sukhomajri and other surrounding villages in Haryana, He very quickly understood the power of people in protecting and conserving natural resources- be they the desert lands, watersheds, forests or wildlife resources. He supported vehemently the then very active social movement of  Chakriya Vikas Pranali (CVP),  in Haryana and also in the present day Jharkhand. In fact, he was one of the founder members of the NGO called Society for Hill Resource Management School, with the mentor and patron Shri P R Mishra.

After his retirement from regular government services, he served the Society for Wastelands Development, as Director initially, and later on as its Chairman. He also served in various other capacities in India as Chairman of a Committee on Training on Watershed Development in India in 1994. The recommendations were then taken up by several states in India to promote the concern and  actions on watershed development. He also served on a Committee set up by the honorable Supreme Court (briefly termed as NPV Committee), to recommend a methodology, methods and measures of forest values for diverting  forest resources to non-forest uses. Till today, the Committee’s recommendations stand out as the guiding principle for fixing such values by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in India.

In between, Shri Eswaran also served as Chairman of  Seva Mandir in Jaipur, and as advisor to MoEF and many others on many occasions. Among many of  his contributions, one distinctly recalls his works in the field of watershed development in India, forest conservation, and development of ecosystem services.

He was one of the founder members of the now famous Indian Society  for Ecological Economics (INSEE). Coming from a rich administrative background and experience, he was very instrumental in structuring the constitution of INSEE. He was very instrumental in developing INSEE’s original corpus funds, to give this organization a strong financial base, so that many academic activities could be geared up immediately. On behalf of INSEE he organized a national seminar on water resources in 2003 at New Delhi; and also helped to organize many such events. During 2002-04 he also served INSEE as its Vice-President.

The scientists, and social scientists in the field of ecology and environment cannot forget the numerous days and times working with Shri Eswaran on several occasions, walking with him, talking to him in the fields of Sukhomajri in Haryana, Chapri, Tandwa and sakhanpidi in Jharkhand. Visits to his house in Vasant Vihar house was always treasure to refresh one’s own social responsibilities to conserve natural resources in India.

An unassuming person, who helped and encouraged young scholars and administrators on the development of ecological economic thinking in India, is no more around us.

Gopal K Kadekodi
Past President, INSEE

Shri Ramaswamy R Iyer

Shri Ramaswamy R Iyer

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.

Jayanta Bandyopadhyay
Past-President, INSEE

Dr. Narpat S. Jodha

Dr. Narpat. S. Jodha

Narpat Singh Jodha, noted economist and President of INSEE from 2004-06 passed away on February 18th, 2020. He received his Master’s degree from the Delhi School of Economics and his PhD from the University of Rajasthan. He started his career with CAZRI Jodhpur in 1963 and worked with IARI New Delhi and various other government institutions before moving to different CGIAR Centers in India and overseas including ICRISAT Hyderabad and IITA East Africa. He worked as agricultural economist in South Asia as well as East and West Africa.

Dr. Jodha  was foremost among the pioneers of work on common property resources, livelihoods and rural poverty  in India. His seminal 1986 paper (published in the Economic and Political Weekly) , in particular, provided strong empirical support on the contribution of common property resources to rural livelihoods. It impacted the way in which rural poverty was theorized and written about for decades to follow. Later he moved from the arid and semi-arid tropics to focus on mountain regions as head of Mountain Farming Division at ICIMOD Kathmandu. He was briefly with the Environment Resources Division at the World Bank before rejoining ICIMOD and working on different aspects of mountain development in various capacities. Wherever he was, his work always continued to be rooted in a fieldwork  based understanding of reality. 

We at INSEE will remember Dr. Jodha for his lasting contributions to it as President in its early years. He shepherded it painstakingly and presided over the Conference held at IGIDR, Mumbai in 2005. He also worked closely with SANDEE, the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics, mentoring researchers at its workshops. He was honoured as a Fellow of World Academy for Art and Science in 2001. He was also President of the International Society for the Study of the Commons (IASC) during the period 2004-06 and Conference President of the Indian Society for Agricultural Economics in 2008.

Apart from his professional accomplishments, his soft- spoken nature, his humility and his gentle spirit left a deep mark on all who were privileged to meet him. He will be remembered both as a great professional and as a genuine human.   

Kanchan Chopra
Past President, INSEE