New Delhi, May 1 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today expressed deep grief over the demise of Nirmala Deshpande.
"I was deeply saddened by the news of the sudden passing away of Nirmala Deshpande in the early hours of this morning. She was a living Gandhian. She dedicated her life to the cause of the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalized in our society. As a true Gandhian, she was deeply committed to creating a good society based on Gandhian values of simplicity, decency and honesty," the Prime Minister said.
Dr. Singh said she was a leader of people and led by example.
"The peace march she organised in Orissa after the terrible murder of Graham Steins inspired many and symbolised her commitment to human life and secular values," he added.
The Prime Minister said Deshpande's activism saw her going beyond the struggle launched by Acharya Vinoba Bhave for 'Bhoodan', to offering Satyagraha for securing the rights of landless labourers who were allotted land.
Better known as 'Didi', she was conferred the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award in August 2006.
Deshpande was also conferred with the Padma Vibhushan Award, the second highest civilian honour, in January 2006, for her social initiative including development of Gandhi Global Peace Centre at Gandhi Ashram Kingsway Camp in Delhi.
"Her work at the Gandhi Global Peace Centre at Gandhi Ashram in Delhi is testimony to her deep commitment to the ideas and ideals of the Father of the Nation," Dr. Singh added.
In 2005, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.