Professor Prakash M. Shingi (1942-2020) joined IIMA as Assistant Professor in the Centre for Management in Agriculture (CMA) in December 1971, and retired in 2004. After obtaining his bachelor's and master's degrees in Sociology-Economics from the University of Poona, he worked as a research assistant at the National Institute of Community Development, Hyderabad (1966-68), before obtaining a doctorate in Rural Sociology from the University of Illinois, USA in 1971. His doctoral work was on diffusion of agricultural innovations, and his postdoctoral work was on evaluation of extension outreach methods.
Soon after he joined IIMA, he became associated with an early experiment in distance education, the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment. He continued to be interested in development communication and extension, and became the first Chairperson of the Communication Area at IIMA when it was set up in 1999-2000. At IIMA, Prof. Shingi specialized in marketing in the agriculture and forestry sectors; his research focused on India and Southeast Asia. His other areas of interest included the privatization of irrigation projects, management of agroforestry, and the management of agro-processing units owned by farmer organizations. He wrote extensively on these subjects, and produced a number of books, articles and research monographs, in addition to numerous consulting reports for several Indian and international organizations. A small part of his work in forestry included a study of the Abujmarh region of Chhattisgarh; his insights anticipated later developments in the region. In collaboration with other faculty members of the IIMA, Prof. Shingi also produced a data-series on a number of agriculture-related issues, such as area under various crops, animal population, fodder production, and so on, in 1991-92. He was very active in teaching, both in the postgraduate program in agriculture/ agribusiness and in executive education programs. He was a member of the IIMA faculty team that mentored the Indian Institute of Forestry Management, Bhopal in its initial days. His CV, which describes his many other achievements, is available on this link.
Prof. Shingi was also actively involved in administration at IIMA. He headed the CMA for a number of years in the 1980s and early 1990s, was Dean from 1995-98, and was Officiating Director for seven months in 1996-97. In this last role, he managed to resolve a few long-standing issues, exhibiting a give-and-take approach that was widely appreciated at that time. While he was ready to apologize for any errors the administration might have committed, he was also prepared to employ unorthodox methods to deal with uncooperative employees. For example, a corner near one of the dormitories was unclean, and students were complaining, but no action was forthcoming. For a few days, Prof. Shingi 'shifted' his office to a chair near that space, until the space was cleaned.
All those who knew him would remember him as a person with a large heart, ever ready to help, and concerned about the wellbeing of the Institute.
Date of Birth: June 18, 1942
Date of Death: August 15, 2020