Development Inspiration from Deep Joshi

Padmashri Deep Joshi needs no introduction. He is the "father-figure" and "Guru" of development professionals in India. He is the co-founder (with Vijay Mahajan) of  one of the best Professional Development Organizations of the world   "PRADAN".

"In electing Deep Joshi to receive the 2009 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the board of trustees recognizes his vision and leadership in bringing professionalism to the NGO movement in India by effectively combining ‘head’ and ‘heart’ in the transformative work of rural development".

I had the opportunity to work in PRADAN (from 1st June 1996 to  31st Aug. 2009 : 13 years) and learned lots of things from Deep Joshi.

Bishnu with Deep Joshi

I am remembering  some of his "Quotes" and "advice" and hope these will inspire young professionals, personnel of NGOs, Research & Resource organizations, academicians, administrators, policy makers and public for development. 

“If only more people equipped with both knowledge and empathy decided to work in the villages, India’s rural society would be transformed”.

• “Civil society needs to have both head and heart. If all you have is bleeding hearts, it wouldn’t work. If you only have heads, then you are going to dictate solutions which do not touch the human chord.”

 • “Development work is considered intellectually inferior to high science, industry, or diplomacy. We want to prove it is both a challenging and a noble choice.”

• “Development is as complex as space and nuclear science”.

• “Development is applying “self” to others”.

• "They (PRADAN professionals) left their BETTER self for the BETTERMENT of society".

• “Both capable and concerned people are needed for development sector”

• “We should build capacity women SHG members so that they can link themselves with mainstream to access and avail various resources and services for development”.

• “Development challenges are many but youth should dare to face it”.

• "People have the potential to do things, even though they may not have the ability…ability is potential actualized. People should not be fed through donations or charity, but helped to develop their potential".

• “Poor are willing to pay, they are already paying for the inferior health and education services in villages. We should provide better services and facilities to them with a charge”.

• "Why should the villager be different from you and me "?

• "A person should not acquire a cow if the cow cannot pay for itself…"

• "Poverty is at one level is the inability to feed your children and yourself, at another level it's the fact that you don't count, you don't have a voice, you can't influence anything".

• "One of the best ways to remove rural poverty is to improve management of rain-fed agriculture".

• "Money is no longer a problem in India. There is no longer any reason for us to remain poor. It's an irony that India can think of putting a man on the moon, but we can't find ways of putting a third of our population on its feet".

• "We have the money, we have the resources, but we're stuck in a system of governance and administration which is tough to unlock because there is a lack of political consensus. People talk of administrative reforms, but you can't bring those about because we cannot get an across-the-board consensus that the system isn't working, and to fix it requires some unpalatable actions".

  • "Padmashri is not for me but for Team. It is a recognition of the efforts for poverty alleviation, the initiative which is the least recognised in India".


  1. One of the coolest NGO persons I have come across

  2. He is really a nice person both from inside and outside...


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