You are here






Sethu Madhavan

February 19, 1952 - September 5, 2020


Obituary, ICA-AP, India


It is with extreme sadness we announce the passing of our friend and colleague, Sethu Madhavan. Our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Lalitha; son, Ekanth; and family!


Sethu and ICA-AP were one and the same to members in the Asia-Pacific region. Sethu joined the ICA Regional Office on April 16, 1975 and was continually associated till the day of his passing. For 45 years, Sethu worked with sincerity and dedication for members and cooperatives. He was always there to answer questions, ever eager to help members, a friend and mentor, sincere in his work, and meticulous in whatever task he undertook. 


Sethu was the first point of contact for members, be it to know about joining ICA, any issue relating to subscription, or seeking clarification on rules. He was always there to hear, ever ready to respond, and do his best to resolve. As Coordinator of one of the ICA-MAFF training programs, he was a guide and friend to many a cooperator from across the region. As Secretary of the Human Resources Committee, he served with sincerity and dedication.


Sethu played a central role in the Regional Assemblies, Board meetings, and in high level ministerial and other conferences. He would be the first person in the hall and the last person to leave after having ensured order of seating, placement of name plates and flags, arrangement for interpreters, handing out of meeting material, and taking care of hospitality. To many Regional Directors, he was the right hand man with his knowledge of members, information on board decisions, balanced understanding of issues and finger on happenings in the office.


To staff in the Regional Office, he was a mentor, friend, and guide. It did not matter to Sethu, whether it was the Regional Director or a support staff. He had a friendly demeanor, treated everyone equally, was easily accessible, and every ready to share and guide.


Rest in peace, Sethu! You will be terribly missed!


Obituary, ICA Global, Belgium


We regret to inform you the passing of our colleague and friend, Sethu Madhavan, who served the ICA Asia and Pacific since 1975 and continued to be a responsible and effective member of the staff, as well as a friend and a mentor to scores of others.  He is survived by his wife, his son and daughter in law. 


Hailing from Kerala, in south India, Sethu graduated from the Punjab University and joined the ICA Regional Office for Asia and Pacific in his 20s, when the regional office, set up in 1960, was still a young organization and at the same time, an office of high repute. 


Sethu proved to be an inspiration to many generations of cooperators and staff members from many countries, with his dedication and selfless work towards the development of the cooperative movement in the region. While at the ICA-AP, Sethu was in charge of managing the offices of the Regional Directors, staffing the Human Resource Development Committee, managing Training Courses co-funded by the Japanese Ministry of Farms and Forestry, and was key in organizing regional board meetings, assemblies and high-level conferences such as the ministerials and registrars conferences. He was even part of the team that organized the 1st ever Regional Assembly and 1st ever cooperative ministers' conference in Sydney (Australia) in 1990!


All those who have met him, young and old, from any corner of the world, have always had a good memory of him. For us too, Sethu leaves an indelible mark and an irreplaceable void, both for the cooperative movement and in our hearts. 


Our sympathies to Sethu's family, our colleagues at the ICA Asia and Pacific and ICA member organizations who have had the privilege of receiving Sethu's impeccable service. 


Condolence messages  


Mr. Ariel E. Guarco, President, ICA, Argentina, “I woke up this morning with this really sad news. The ICA family lost one of their dear members. This unfair disease has taken away unexpectedly our colleague and friend Sethu, who has been part of the ICA AP staff for so many years. We have lost an invaluable colleague, who was always ready to collaborate with everyone, in a caring, responsible and respectful way. He will always be in our memories. I send my most sincere condolences to his family and colleagues from the ICA-AP Office in this painful situation. My heart goes out to all of you.”


Mr. Li Chunsheng, President ICA-AP, China I am shocked to hear the passing of K. Sethu Madhavan, Advisor-Planning & Membership, ICA-AP Regional Office. On behalf of the ICA-AP Region, All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives, as well as in my own name, I extend deep condolences to you, and through you to his family over the passing of Mr. Sethu, and express sincere sympathies to his family. Mr. Sethu was an outstanding cooperator and an old friend for the ICA-AP Region and its member cooperatives. He was whole-heartedly and diligent about his work throughout of his life-long career relating to the cooperative sector. He had devoted himself to have made positive contribution to the development of ICA-AP region, and had been understanding and supportive of our endeavor and that of the members of ICA-AP for a better future of cooperatives. As an old friend of mine, I am always impressed by his kindness and thoughtfulness over the years. I believe, most of us who have known Mr. Sethu in person, will mourn for him as a dear colleague and friend. Moreover, we will never forget the contributions he made over the past 30 years to the work of ICA-AP Regional Office. My deepest condolences again.”

Dr. Chandrapal Singh Yadav, Vice President ICA-AP Regional Board, President NCUI, India, Very shocking news! We convey our heartfelt condolences and pray God for eternal peace to departed soul.”


Dr. U.S. Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO, “My heartfelt condolences on demise of Shri. Sethu Madhavan. His passing away is great loss to cooperative movement. I pray to God to give him place in heaven & courage to his family and dear & near ones to bear this irreparable loss. Om Shanti.”


Mr. Bruno Roelants, Director General, ICA, Belgium “This is a terrible news... I feel so sad.... I have known Serhu for such a long time... Such a faithful person . I will write more later but I wanted to react immediately and share my emotion.... Please convey all my solidarity to his family and to the ICA AP staff. In solidarity.”


Dr. Nandini Azad, ICA-AP, Chairperson Women’s Committee, India, “Sethu Madhavan was to ICA-AP a pillar par excellence. An encyclopedia of the Asia pacific coop world. Loved and respected by all. RIP we will miss his wisdom very much.”


Ms. Om Devi Malla, ICA Global Board Member, Senior Vice President of NCF, Nepal, “With warm thoughts and care, I extend my deepest sympathies on the sudden demise of Mr. K. Sethu Madhavan, a capable, selfless and ideal senior management professional of ICA-AP. On behalf of myself and International Cooperative Alliance, please accept my heartfelt condolence and I pray that God will grant the strength to his family, relatives and professional team to go forward with courage. I never forget his kindness and professional image in the Asia and Pacific region. May God give him eternal rest and the family a strength to bear the great pain in this hard time. May the Lord comfort his soul and give power to all to be a bold pillar to go ahead. Let this letter bring some relief in the painful times.”


Dato Abdul Fattah Abdullah, ICA-AP Regional Board member, President of ANGKASA, Malaysia, “We are so shocked and sad to hear the passing of Mr. Sethu Madhavan, Advisor-Planning & Membership, ICA-AP Regional Office. On behalf of ANGKASA, Malaysia, I would like to convey our condolence to ICA-AP Regional Office and to his family.  Our sympathy to his family during this tough time. Mr. Sethu had been so close to ANGKASA together with our staffs organising programmes for a long time.  A very diligent and kind hearted person, he will be definitely missed by all of us cooperators throughout the globe.  Once again our deepest condolence.”


Mr. TONY C. ARAÑAS, ICA-AP Board member, Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, NATCCO, Philippines, “He was the first person or ICA-AP Officer to respond/communicate with me during our ICA-AP General Assembly months ago.  Although, we didn't have the chance to meet in person but, my impression in that brief exchange of communication is that, he was a very competent and meticulous, indeed, coop leader, which ICA would certainly recognize his demise as a great loss to the coop movement and a deep sorrow as a colleague. To the bereaved Family of Sethu, please accept my deepest sympathy and condolence, and may his soul peacefully rests in the embrace of our Creator.”


Mr. KoK Kwon Kwek, ICA-AP Regional Board, LearningHub, Singapore,It is really sad to learn from you about the demise of Sethu. We have lost a kind and humble man who have served with distinction in ICA-AP. It is with a heavy heart that we will mourn over his recent passing from COVID infection. Please convey our heartfelt condolences to his wife and family. Our deepest condolences from SNCF and myself.”  


Mr. Alireza Gharagozlo, ICA-AP Board member, Iran, “I was super sorry to hear that, condolences to all team of ICA-AP. Rest In Peace.”


Mr. Ahsan Ali Thakur, Chairperson, ICYC, Pakistan,  "I'm so sorry to hear about Sethu ji's demise. I'm not sure if you are going to meet his family but if you do, please pass my deepest condolences to his family."


Mr. Charles Gould, USA, “I’m so sorry to hear that. I always found him to be such a conscientious and thoughtful man. There is so much loss from this.”


Mr. Martin Lowry, ICA Global Board member, USA, How very, very saddened we are at the sudden loss of Sethu Madhavan to COVID.  I can only imagine how difficult this is for the Delhi staff and for you, Balu.  He was such a gentle soul and always a great pleasure to be with.  A cooperator to the end!  Deepest condolences from Ruth and me.  May he Rest In Peace.”


Ms. Bernadette Turner, United Kingdom, What really sad news.  I worked with Sethu on many occasions.  It will be hard to think that he will not be around - as you say, Sethu and the Asia Pacific Office were one in the same. Please pass my sincere condolences to his family. In sadness.”


MD, NCDC, India, “Very sad time hear. RIP.”


Mr. Robby Tulus, ex Regional Director, ICA-AP, Canada, “It is with my deepest grief to have learned from you of the passing of our dear friend and colleague Sethu Madhavan. I have worked with Sethu for so many years and remember him as an excellent individual and co-operator with whom I have the privilege to worked with at the ICA AP, be it during my tenure as well as beyond. Please kindly pass on my deepest condolences to his family. I am sure you and others at ICA will share with me the great loss of such an excellent co-worker at ICA AP, and while we mourn deeply for his loss it is also a stark reminder how dangerous COVID 19 could strike anyone in areas like Delhi where the spike is continuously on the rise. I will therefore pray solemnly for Sethu's soul to Rest in Peace, and to remind all other ICA AP colleagues to take heed of the protocols during this disruptive and lingering pandemic. With sadness and commiserations.”


Dr. Sifa Chiyoge, Regional Director, Africa, “So sorry. Just learned about Sethu' demise. May he rest in eternal peace. He was a treasure.”


Prof. Akira Kurimoto, Chair ICA-AP Research Committee, Japan, “I was shocked by the sad news of Sethu's passing. He had been so kind and responsive in doing his job and the most reliable staff of the ICA AP. No doubt it is a great loss for the ICA AP and cooperators in the region. I hope he could be satisfied with his job and family.”


Mr. Tarun Bhargava, IFFCO, India, “Mr. Sethu was a true cooperative friend and a person so much dependable! It’s a big loss and I am very shocked. May God his family strength to bear this sudden loss and We pray that his soul rest in peace. Om Shanti!!”


Mr. Bhima Subrahmanyam, ICBA Chair and Managing Director, NAFSCOB, India, The sad & sudden demise of Sethu Madhavan is really shocking to me. I knew him since 1985  more closely since 1990. For me, Sethu means ICA-AP and ICA AP means Sethu .This is because he was  the one who always responded with correct clarifications/ information  spontaneously on various ICA events. An appropriate link between ICA-AP and us. He was very easily accessible and helpful. We used to meet in almost all ICA-AP events. For me and many others, he was very friendly. He was very sincere, hard working and did contribute to Cooperatives at international level. Last time I met him was at Kigali, Rwanda during 13-17 October 2019. He also provided me certain guidelines when I was elected as President, International  Cooperative Association (ICBA), ICA. We lost a good friend. We miss him. My sincere and heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members. OM SHANTHI.”


Mr. Min Raj Kadel, Chairman NCF, Nepal, “I am awfully sorry to hear about the sudden demise of Mr. K. Sethu Madhavan working as Planning/Membership Manager, and assistant to Regional Director of ICA-AP.  On behalf of the National Cooperative Federation of Nepal, and Cooperative Movement of Nepal, I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to his family members, organization, relatives and cooperators of Asia and Pacific region. I can understand that this is a very difficult time for all the devoted cooperators, cooperative organizations and relatives of Mr. Madhavan. As an irreversible loss, the cooperative movement of Asia and Pacific really missed a capable, selfless and humble cooperative professional in this hard time of COVID-19 pandemic. This is still hard to believe for us. May the Almighty rest his soul in Eternal Peace, and give power of healing to his family members. Accept my sincere sympathy to all and hope to meet physically in the near future.”


Mr. Keshav Prasad Badal, Nepal, I am really shocked to hear of the passing of K. Sethu Madhavan, a selfless, humble and kind cooperative professional working in ICA-AP Regional Office. we really lost a true cooperator and devoted personality of this region. In this tough time, I like to extend my heartfelt condolences to his family members, colleagues and cooperators to stand with high spirit. Once again my deepest sympathy for this unforeseen situation.


Mr. Nakashima, IDACA, Japan,Oh…very shocked to hear the news we had never expected like this news…..Let me know how we express and convey our condolences in the Indian custom.”


IDACA, Japan, “We in IDACA including Mr. Abe are so shocked to hear the passing of Mr. Sethu. We still cannot believe the news. it is so hard for us to accept the fact. He will be missed so much.”


Mr. Nasir Khan, Yahaya, CEO, ANGKASA, Malaysia, “It’s indeed very hard for me too to hear the demise of our good friend Mr Sethu. My heartfelt condolences to his family and colleague in ICAAP.”


Ms. Sharmila Thakuri, Nepal, “You are our  daughter",Sethu Madhavan said to me, when I was Rwanda in  ICA program. When he said that I felt  I get parents. Today, I heard he's passed away............  Rest in Peace Sethu sir. you were a wonderful person you will be missed.


Ms. Indra Panta, Nepal, “I am deeply saddened by the passing away of Sethu Madhavan, who made important contributions to strengthen the Cooperative Movement. We will remember him as a Mentor and good personality of coop movement. Rest in peace, Setu jee! Heartfelt condolences to bereaved family members!”


Mr. Suresh Thapa, Program Officer, NCF, Nepal, “The news of Sethu ji's sudden death is very sad and shocking."


Mr. Pendi Yusuf, Indonesia,R I P dear best mentor and colleague. We share your grief in this time of bereavement with deepest sympathy and condolences.”


Mr. Mohammed Sukri, DEKOPIN, Indonesia, “Cooperative activists in Indonesia and DEKOPIN (Indonesian Cooperative Council) "lost" their best friend, "goodbye" and Rest In Peace Sethu Madhavan..”


Mr. Ilham Nasai, DEKOPIN, Indonesia, “With our deepest condolences….this is big loss for our movement.”


Mr. Alireza Baneifar, Iran,Deeply shocked and saddened by this news, terrible news to start the day with! still can't believe it. Rest in peace, dear friend, colleague, and mentor...


Mr. Babak Lalfam, Iran, “Dear Ashok, I hope this finds you well amid the coronavirus pandemic. This is carrying my most heartfelt condolences on the passing of Sethu. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this. His gentleness and affable manners will always be remembered. I'll never forget that beautiful night when we were together here in Iran at a restaurant and he just ordered rice and some butter. And he brought me the Sholey songs cassette which you had asked him to, when he came to Iran to join the ICA team for preparation of the 6th regional consultation meeting. I understand that he had been especially a great friend to you. Wish you a tolerable bereavement. May he rest in peace.”


Ms. Rozurina, International Department, ANGKASA, Malaysia,I’m so sad to hear the passing of Mr Sethu. He was such a dear kind hearted friend. I was with him in Japan for a month when I attended the ICA-IDACA sometime around 2004. Its’ a great loss to ICA and to us in Angkasa. We will miss him. May he rest in peace. Pls accept our condolence from International Affairs Dept Angkasa.”


Mr. Sanjay Varma, NCUI, India, “Shocked  to hear this.  During my brief stay in ICA-AP, he was highly supportive and encouraging. Could never imagine  talk with him in April would be last. A genuine , hard-working and simple person, his demise has left a big void. May his soul rest in peace.”


Cooperator from Japan, Very sad news. I’d like to thank him for the contribution to cooperative movement and friendship with Japanese cooperators. RIP.”


Mr. Upali Herath, Sri Lanka,I was informed that Mr.Sethu Madhvan has passed away during COVID 19. I was shocked and sad hear his demise. We worked together in the ICAROAP for a long time and best of relationship. He was a gentle and studious worker and a good coordinator. He managed many big events in many Departments. I met him during Vietnam Registrars' Forum and shared pleasant memories from the past. It is a sad personal loss to me and my wife who know him. Please convey our condolences to his wife and children, whom we knew closely during that time. May he attain ultimate bliss.”


Mr. Survesh, Nickair Travels, India, “feeling shocked and saddened as he was perfectly fine before admitted to hospital. He will be missed forever ... ....


Ms. Paola Bellotti, ex ICA, Italy, “My most sincere condolences to the whole office and to Sethu Madhavan’s family.”


Mr. Santosh Kumar, Legislation Coordinator, ICA, Belgium,  “I am shocked and saddened beyond words. I am very sorry to hear this news. Kindly convey my deepest condolences to Mrs. Sethu Madhavan and his son and daughter in law. Sethu ji was indeed a good and true friend. A humble and sincere person. I just cannot believe he is no longer with us. A big personal loss, indeed.”


Ms. Moh Moh, CCS, Myanmar, “Oh, I am very sad to hear about him. Oh my goodness. He is my first coordinator in ICA training. My deepest condolence to his family. Rest in peace!”


Ms. Heira Hardiyanti, IKOPIN, Indonesia, “I just got sad news that Mr. Sethu Is passed away.”


Dr. Paranjothi, ICA-AP Research Committee, India, “Sorry to hear about the demise of Sethu. Pray his soul rest in peace.”


Mr. Mohan Kumar Mishra, Secretary, NCCT, New Delhi, The entire office and staff of NCCT, New Delhi expresses profound grief and sorrow on the sudden demise of Shri. K. Sethumadhavan, Advisor, ICA-AP. May his departed soul rest in peace in heavenly adobe. We pray to god to give courage and strength to you and your family members to bear this unbearable loss.


T T Adhikari, Managing Director, Delhi State Consumer Co-operative Federation Ltd, New Delhi, “I am extremely sorry to know about the sad demise of Shri Sethu Madhavan ,with whom I had been professionally associated since 1993. We will surely miss him. May his soul rest in peace and God give enough strength to his family to bear the loss.”


Ms. Paola Bellotti, ex ICA, Italy, “My most sincere condolences to the whole office and to Sethu Madhavan’s family.”


Mr. Santosh Kumar, Legislation Coordinator, ICA, Belgium,  “I am shocked and saddened beyond words. I am very sorry to hear this news. Kindly convey my deepest condolences to Mrs. Sethu Madhavan and his son and daughter in law. Sethu ji was indeed a good and true friend. A humble and sincere person. I just cannot believe he is no longer with us. A big personal loss, indeed.”


Ms. Véronique Bénet ICA,, Director of Finance and Administration, ICA, “I was so sad to learn this terrible news, I will keep praying for Sethu and his family. He was so kind in his relationships with colleagues and members, always willing to help. I will keep in my heart the memory of a cooperator and a good man. Please convey my deepest condolences to his family and our ICA AP colleagues.”


Ms. Gretchen Hacquard, ICA, “I will miss him, having worked with him closely for the past 14 years. I am sad to know that I will not continue to grow old with him in the coop movement, and it may take some time for me to stop automatically writing emails to him. What a terrible virus this is – so many lives lost and difficulties caused – both personally and globally.  May his memory be a blessing. I wish that everyone who loved him be filled with peace and be free from suffering and sorrow.”


Mr. Marc Noel, ICA “I'm very sorry about this sad news. I had the chance to meet him a few times, and he was so appreciated by the colleagues in Brussels working more closely with him ... all my thoughts to you and your colleagues of the AP office.”


Ms. Anam Mittra, ex ICA-AP, “I heard of the very distressing news of Sethu Sir's demise. I would like to offer my sincere condolences for he was so loved and admired at ICA. May his soul rest in peace.”


Ms. Devika Singh, ex ICA-AP, “Just saw your tweet regarding Sethu sir. I'm very sad to hear this. My sincerest condolences and wishes of strength to his family and the team.”


Mr. Ivjyot Singh, ex ICA-AP, "I'm very sad to hear the news."


Mr. Chanho Choi, ex ICA-AP Regional Director, "I don't know how to express my deep sorrow at the pass of Sethu Madhaven. I would like to add my heartfelt condolences to his wife and family. His sudden death left a lot of sadness and regret, reminding us to continue fighting this kind of ruthless pandemic for a safer world. My friend Sethu, reset you in a peaceful and safe world."

Mr. Ashok Taneja, ICA-AP,I was terribly shocked to learn about the sad demise of our friend and colleague Sethu Madhavan….. I pray to God that his soul may Rest In Peace and He May give enough strength to the family members to bear this irreparable loss.”


Ms. Simren Singh, ICA-AP, “Oh God! This is extremely tragic! Unbelievable. May his soul rest in peace and God give strength to his family and friends. Please accept my deepest condolences on Sethu sir's tragic demise.”


Mr. Mohit Dave, ICA-AP, “I'm really very shocked! Sethu ji was a wonderful person who will be so sorely missed. His warm spirit and generosity was a joy to everyone who knew him. More recently, I had my good opportunity to know him personally while working closely on the Registrars Forum (April 19, HCM City) and the Regional Assembly (October 19, Kigali). His warmth and generosity made us better human beings and we consider ourselves lucky to have known him. It is our irreparable loss indeed. My prayers are with his family.”


Mr. Ganesh Gopal, ICA-AP, “This is very tragic news. May his soul rest in peace. Prayers and strength to the entire family.”


Ms. Savitri Singh, ICA-AP, “I have no words! Last evening I talked to his son. He was sounding hopeful.”


Mr. Shree Padmanabhan, ICA-AP, It very sad that he is not going to be with us and I’m going to miss him a lot! I never thought that I will upload Sethu ji photo with a sad news!


Mr. K. Kukreja, ICA-AP, “Very sorry to inform you that Mr K Sethu Madhavan  expired today morning….  God give his family strength to bear the unexpected loss.”


Personal letters sent by:


Maita Shinichi

Managing Director & CEO

National Federation of University Co-operative Associations, Japan

Mr.  Mohan Kumar Mishra


National Council for Cooperative Training (NCCT), India


Mr. Sarath Weerasiri


National Cooperative Council of Sri Lanka


Ms. Chitose Arai

Vice President

Japanese Consumers’ Cooperative Union


Mr. Sung-hee Lee


NACF, Korea


Ms.Inja Park


iCoop, Korea


Dr. Chiyoge B. Sifa
Regional Director

ICA- Africa