Remembering Ishwar Modi (1940-2017)

A Source of Inspiration and Encouragement

Professor Ishwar Modi’s passing in May 2017 came after a long struggle with cancer, in which he continued to provide support and guidance to a new generation of Indian sociologists, and to a new generation of sociologists of leisure. His death is a sad loss to Indian sociology, sociology of leisure, and the academy more generally.

Ishwar had come to Research Committee 13 (Sociology of Leisure) of the ISA when he was already a globally renowned sociologist of leisure and tourism. He was encouraged to stand as President to lead RC13 through changing circumstances. He took on the task with vigor and good sense, and reached out to attract many new members to RC13 and the ISA more generally. As he stood a number of times as President he continued to undertake impressive research projects, and to write many monographs and edited collections – indeed, one final edited collection (Leisure, Health and Well-Being) was published as recently as April of this year with two RC13 colleagues as co-authors. As the President of RC13 he represented it on ISA’s Executive Committee, and worked well with colleagues there.

Beyond RC13 and the ISA, Ishwar was closely involved in two parallel developments. He was elected to the Board of Directors for the World Leisure and Recreation Association – what is now called World Leisure, the leading international professional body for leisure – on a number of occasions. He was so well respected by that organization that he was given honorary life membership. The second development was his active involvement in the Indian Sociological Society, which led to him receiving a Lifetime Award in 2015 from the Society for his efforts in promoting Indian sociology, and his world-class contribution to sociological research and teaching.

When the news of his passing was sent to the members of RC13, the sadness was mitigated by the memories and words of thanks members shared with one another. Everybody has a tale to tell about their first acquaintance with Ishwar, and how that meeting or contact became the basis of a long-standing friendship. From the most senior members of RC13 to many of our newest members, we all felt the same. Ishwar was our former President, our mentor and teacher, and someone who had devoted himself to making us feel welcome. It was Ishwar who set the inclusive tone of our decision-making, and the inclusive tone of our sessions at ISA events and our mid-term conferences. I personally valued Ishwar’s presence in RC13 and the ISA, and will always be grateful for his encouragement and his presence. I first met him in Hungary at an RC13 mid-term conference, though we had exchanged many emails beforehand, and like everyone involved in RC13 and the ISA, I am very sad that I will not see him again. But at the same time I think we are all very glad to have known Ishwar Modi, and to have been part of his world.

Karl Spracklen, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK and Vice-President and Executive Secretary of the ISA Research Committee on the Sociology of Leisure (RC13)

United Kingdom, Volume 7, Issue 3

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