PV Satheesh, the founder and executive director of Telangana-based agricultural NGO Deccan Development Society (DDS), passed away at a private hospital in Hyderabad on Sunday, 19 March.
The 78-year-old was undergoing treatment for a prolonged illness.
Fondly called the 'Telangana Millet Man', Satheesh played a vital role in conserving traditional crops and worked extensively with the Dalit women of Telangana's Zaheerabad region.
The Deccan Development Society's official handle tweeted about Satheesh's demise, saying, "For over four decades, he has worked tirelessly to lead the organisation to become an exemplary NGO by working with poor Dalit women to tackle hunger, malnutrition, social deprivation and ecological degradation."
Who Was PV Satheesh?
Born on 18 June 1945 in Mysore, Periyapatna Venkatasubbaiah Satheesh started out as a journalist who graduated from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi.
He worked for Doordarshan for nearly two decades, making programmes related to rural development in united Andhra Pradesh.
In 1983, Satheesh and a few of his friends founded the Deccan Development Society, laying emphasis on the traditional knowledge systems of poor, non-literate Dalit women in Zaheerabad. The organisation helped tackle hunger, land degradation, and preserve the culture of the region.
He also began several experiments to revive millet cultivation and promotion across the country, earning him the title of 'Millet Man'. Satheesh also helped form the Community Media Trust, which gave birth to India's first community radio station, Sangham Radio.
Over the last four decades, the DDS has won accolades for its work in helping the women farmers of the region attain agricultural autonomy.
Condolences Pour In
Vinod Pavarala, a professor at University of Hyderabad and a member of the DDS' board, expressed his condolences, saying:
"I have learnt so much from him about rural development, participatory communication, and community media... His vision of autonomous rural communities with sovereignty over lands, seeds, foods, markets, and media may or may not have been realised in his lifetime, but what a powerful vision that was!"
Many others took to Twitter to express their grief: