Focus on the Global South (Focus) mourns the passing away today morning of Admiral, as we fondly called Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas. In him, India lost a crusader for peace, justice, equality and secular democracy.

Admiral Ramdas served the Indian nation through a distinguished career in the Indian Navy, including as Chief of Naval Staff. After retiring, he rose to prominence as one of the most influential voices in the sub-continent for peace, demilitarization, denuclearization, social justice and secularism. He was the Chairperson of the Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace & Democracy, founding member of the Coalition for Peace and Democracy, and a leading member of the India Pakistan Soldier’s Initiative. He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for peace in 2004.

Admiral was a staunch ally and supporter of progressive social movements, always emphasizing the importance of peoples’ participation and integrity of office bearers in building a robust, transparent and accountable democracy.  Recently, he served as the Lokpal of the Aam Aadmi Party.  His farm and home in Alibaug were always open to social movement and civil society colleagues, and he inspired countless activists with his wisdom and insights. He consistently credited his wife, Lalitha Ramdas, fondly referred to as Lolly, for guiding him from being a “Man o’ war to a man o’ Peace,”* and embracing the causes of peace and human rights.

Admiral shaped Focus’ Peace & Democracy programme in the organisation’s early years, providing much needed perspective, direction and courage in taking on sensitive issues.

Admiral, you will be sorely missed. You leave behind a legacy that transcends boundaries and have served as a beacon of hope for countless individuals in the pursuit of social change.

We send our deepest condolences to Admiral’s family, joining them in respect and sorrow.