Eminent scholar and political scientist Rajni Kothari, a former Planning Commission member, died here today at the age of 86.
Kothari was suffering from urinary tract ailment for some time and died at around 9:45 AM at his residence at Patparganj in East Delhi.
"He was not keeping well for the last two years. He died of old-age," a family member said. He was survived by his two sons Miloon and Ashish. His last rites are likely to take place tomorrow.
Kothari was member of the Planning Commission during the national Front Government led by V P Singh.
A well known political thinker, Kothari was founder of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in 1963, a social sciences and humanities research institute based here.
He had also floated Lokayan in 1980 which is a forum for interaction between activists and intellectuals.
Kothari was also associated with number of prestigious institutions like Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), International Foundation for Development Alternatives and People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).
Kothari's published works include Politics in India, Caste in Indian Politics and Rethinking Democracy, In Search of Humane World Order Poverty: Human Consciousness and the Amnesia of Development and Communalism in Indian Politics.
Kothari was born born on 16th August, 1928.
Academic Secretary of CSDS Praveen Rai called Kothari's death a "passing of an era".
"He lived with his sons, as his wife had died earlier. We are all saddened by this tragic loss," he said.
"He was a pioneer in bringing to India the concept of scientific analysis to election data. A prolific writer, he wrote about 14 books, most prominent among them being 'Politics in India'," Rai said.
He was also "one of the original three members" of the team that laid down the outlines for establishing the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), he added.
Kothari came into prominence after he wrote a number of essays in the Economic and Political Weekly in the 1960s.
He started his professional career as a lecturer at the Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda.
Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu condoled Kothari's death.
"Feeling saddened on passing away of Rajni Kothari, an eminent political scientist, academician and writer. May the departed soul rest in peace," he said.
AAP leader Yogendra Yadav described Kothari as the most outstanding political scientist India has produced.
Academician Pratap Bhanu Mehta said he was a strong defender of democracy.
Eminent anthropologist Shiv Vishvanathan, who has held the position of Senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), recalling the contribution of Kothari, said, "he dominated the political scientific field for decades."
"Kothari's passion for democracy was unbeatable...He created and visualised social narratives," he said.