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HomeIndiaDhirubhai Sheth, former director of CSDS, passes away at 85 

Dhirubhai Sheth, former director of CSDS, passes away at 85 

Founding member of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Prof Dhirubhai Sheth also founded Lokayan, a movement for alternatives in politics and development, in 1980.

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New Delhi: Professor Dhirubhai Sheth, honorary senior fellow and founding member of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), passed away Friday. He was 85 years old.

Professor Sanjay Kumar, a former director of CSDS, said Sheth had been suffering from “breathing issues”. Sheth was asthmatic.

“Professor Dhirubhai Sheth was suffering from breathing issues and had been living with his daughter in Gurgaon. We would often go to meet him there and have long conversations with him. Research discussions would get him very excited and even though he needed oxygen support, his mind was sharp and alert,” Kumar said.

“Dhirubhai was very interested in public & human life and was instrumental in many non-political social movements,” he added.

Sheth, a former CSDS director too, had founded Lokayan, a movement for alternatives in politics and development, in 1980 and served on its governing body for many years after it became an NGO three years later.

He also worked as the president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties in Delhi from 1991 to 1993, and was appointed as a social scientist member to the National Commission for Backward Classes (1993-1996).

An academic life

Sheth was the editor of the journal Alternatives: Global, Local, Political. Apart from that, he edited the books Citizens and Parties (1995) with Ashis Nandy, Multiverse of Democracy (1996) and Minority Identities and the Nation-State (1999).

He had joined the CSDS in 1964, going on to serve as its director from 1984-1987. Before that, he was part of the faculty of Social Work at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, formerly Baroda College.

He was also the project director and co-investigator for the project on International Studies of Values and Politics (1965-69).

His career includes stints as member of the Board of Consultants, Comparative Political Studies from 1972-1978 as well as member of the Planning Commission Task Force on Family Planning in 1973.

In 1988, he was a Charles Wallace Visiting Fellow to the University of Hull, UK, and also a visiting professor to the International University of Japan (IUJ) in 1989.

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