A tribute to our friend and partner Ashim Chowla
Frontline AIDS pays tribute to Ashim Chowla, Chief Executive of our partner Alliance India, who has died suddenly aged 58.
Frontline AIDS is struggling to absorb the loss of our friend and partner, Ashim Chowla. Ashim has been a cherished member of the Frontline AIDS family for many years, both in his role leading Alliance India and before that as CEO of LEPRA Society.
Wherever he worked, Ashim always led from the front, bringing his considerable intellect and talents to advance the causes he believed in so passionately.
Most recently, he had been leading Alliance India and their partners to establish COVID-19 vaccination services for some of the most marginalised communities in India, testament to his commitment to protecting the health and rights of the underserved.
Ashim was a force of life, deeply intellectual, warm, fierce and political. It is no understatement to describe him as a driving force within the HIV movement. We will miss him terribly.
We extend our deepest sympathies to our colleagues and friends at Alliance India, to Ashim’s family and to everyone who was fortunate to know him.
Photo credit: Anurag Paul / Alliance India
Professor Nana Poku, Board Chair, Frontline AIDS
“This is a huge loss both to the Frontline AIDS partnership and the global HIV movement. Ashim was a true Frontliner, whose passion and dedication to the causes he believed in changed many people’s lives for the better.
“He will be remembered fondly and with great admiration not just in India but by HIV advocates in countries all over the world. Thank you, Ashim, for everything you achieved for our movement.”
David Clark, Head: Programmes, Frontline AIDS
“I feel a little colder today knowing we have lost the warmth of Ashim in our lives. Whenever you were in a room with him, you felt it. Sometimes it was the heat of his intellect and clarity of purpose calling us to be practical and principled. Other times it was the bright hope he brought to dark moments. But always and every time it was the warmth of his humanity – the smile, the checking in quietly that you are OK and the concern for his fellow travellers.
“Ashim wasn’t somebody for making a barn storming speech to open a meeting but would listen intently and quietly and then put his finger right on the heart of the issue when he did speak. In this time of COVID-19 – again and again – he implored us all to be brave, to embrace the possibility of change in the crisis and to put communities at the centre.
“To those of us he leaves behind, please know that his warmth carries on in all of us who walked alongside him. Rest in peace, dear Ashim.”
Dr Pasquine Ogunsanya, Executive Director, Alive Medical Services (Uganda)
“We are deeply saddened and know we have lost a great colleague and leader who has been in the frontline as a partner of Frontline AIDS. We thank God for the great work he has done and the legacy he has left behind. Our sincere condolences to Alliance India family and his dear family. May Ashim Rest In Peace. May love surround his family.”
Andriy Klepikov, Executive Director, Alliance for Public Health (Ukraine)
“It is hard to believe that we lost Ashim, great friend, honest, wise, emotional and thoughtful. High caliber professional, respected leader, reliable friend, “addicted” motor-cyclist, true human.
“Rest In Peace, dear Ashim. You left a great legacy behind. Our sincere condolences to Alliance India family, Ashim’s family, all colleagues and friends.”
Dr Amira Herdoiza, Executive Director, Corporacion Kimirina (Ecuador)
“We are shocked. Ashim was a friend and a close support for us. His wisdom, harmony and great and deep advice were always meaningful and perfectly timed. We will miss him a lot; even if we were far away, we always have felt him very close.
“Our solidarity to all Frontline AIDS family and specially to Alliance India.”
Luann Hatane, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PATA (South Africa)
“Sending condolences, strength, and much love. I was fortunate to meet Ashim on several occasions and was always left in awe of his ability to speak his truth with clarity, passion, and conviction. I have no doubt his life and service to others, his deep commitment to justice and equality will continue to inspire.
“Ashim’s contribution and leadership will be celebrated and honoured for years to come . We extend our heartfelt condolences to his colleagues and family.”
Toyin Chukwudozie, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Education as a Vaccine (Nigeria)
“This is very sad news. On behalf of EVA, I send our deepest condolences to Ashim’s family, friends and colleagues, and to all of us here who knew him and worked with him. We are thankful for his contributions to the work, and we hope we can all continue to work to ensure that his legacy lives on.”
Vivek Anand, Chief Executive Officer, Humsafar Trust (India)
“It’s difficult to come to terms with the sad truth though all of us have been grappling with it for the last few days. It’s painful to imagine that we have lost one of our lead soldiers on the ground.
“I had known Ashim for years but this year our bond was strengthened as we became partners in the Global Fund Virtual and CSS grant. It seems like just yesterday when all of us had met in September to sign our agreement. Two months today I am sitting again at the same hotel in Delhi attending an LGBTQI symposium and thinking of the joyous evening when we met here in September.
“Let’s put our thoughts and prayers together for our dear friend Ashim and promise to be together in this challenging time and make his dreams that he left us to come true.”
Choub Sok Chamreun, Executive Director, KHANA (Cambodia)
“It is shocking and sad news to read of the loss of our beloved and closest friend, Ashim Chowla.
“Ashim is really strongly missed by all of us in the Frontline AIDS partnership. Ashim took the leadership role as the Executive Director of LEPRA Society, almost the same time that I took the similar role here at KHANA. We promised to support each other forever and we did.
“He was my lovely brother, closest friend, the big heart man, and the passionate leader. His friendliness, care, leadership, and support for one another are left behind. His passing is really a big loss. Ashim will always be in my heart and memory.
“I would like to join you all to share my sincere condolences and deepest sympathy with the family of Ashim and the entire staffs of the India HIV/AIDS Alliance, the LEPRA Society and all his friends.”
Dr Sunil Mehra, Executive Director, MAMTA (India)
“We have lost a passionate and warm colleague. It’s a rude shock and huge loss to all of us. I had the pleasure and honor of working with Ashim. His commitment to underserved populations was immense.
“May God rest his soul in peace. We are all there to support Alliance India in any way they feel appropriate at this difficult time. My heartfelt condolences to Ashim’s family and may God bestow courage to handle this irreparable loss.”
Emmanuel Ndlangamandla, Executive Director, CANGO (Eswatini)
“CANGO is shocked to know that Ashim Chowla has passed on. Ashim’s contribution to the HIV/AIDS movement was not only in India but globally. We will miss his humility, sense of humour, energy and professionalism. May his family and colleagues in the Alliance be comforted.”
Gertrude Shumba, Executive Director, Family AIDS Caring Trust (Zimbabwe)
“I am just failing to come to terms with the untimely death of our great friend. Ashim was indeed a true comrade and would reach out to every director during the meetings and socially. He would speak his mind and showed lots of commitment to his job.
“May his dear soul rest in eternal peace. This world is not our home. We are just passing by.”