Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Shashi Rajagopalan

The Lady who changed many lives:
Ms Shashi Rajagopalan left a void behind her on the fateful day of the 5th August 2011. When I first met her almost thirty years back, when the Cooperative Development Foundation - the SAMAKHYA as was known, she was helping late Mr. E.V.Ramreddy, and Mr M. Rama Reddy, present President in putting forth funding proposals, advocacy materials on cooperatives of the then new genre - the true cooperatives. She strived hard to influence all the people she worked with to a discipline in thinking and approach. Accountability and transparency, true to their words, were her imprint. Extension work in cooperatives and cooperative advocacy - she took to a logical conclusion by making nine States formulate a new legislation on cooperatives which is now familiarly known as Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies Act (MACS Act). She never hesitated calling a spade a spade. She is a forceful speaker on MACS. I had an interesting experience. She requested me to accompany to Lucknow to address a crowd of women interested in forming SHGs. Both of us were not very familiar with Hindi lingual. We had to speak in Hindi only if we were to carry our message. We mixed Hindi with English and in the end we noticed that we were understood! She has indomitable courage at facing issues. She never compromised small details. I had the unique experience of working with her on the CDF Board for a decade and the papers for the Board Meetings had her thorough scrutiny. Any mistake she never hesitated owning up. Very few can match her as a tall leader in cooperative movement in our country.