Stalwart of the women’s rights movement in India, Kamla Bhasin, passed away on Saturday morning. Feminist activist, author Bhasin, 75, was suffering from cancer and pulmonary edema and was admitted to a hospital.
Bhasin was a prominent voice in the field women’s rights movement in India and in other South Asian countries.
Bollywood actor Shabana Azmi took to Twitter to condole Bhasin’s demise. “Fiesty Kamla Bhasin has fought her last battle, singing and celebrating a life well-lived. Her absence will be felt acutely, her gutsy presence, laughter and song, her wonderful strength are her legacy. We treasure her now as we did before,” Azmi tweeted.
Back in 1991, a woman in her forties caught people’s attention at the Women’s Studies Conference at Kolkata’s Jadavpur University, as she beat a little drum and chanted a slogan. This was Kamla Bhasin, screaming ‘Azadi’ against patriarchy while being surrounded by other women. Her friends remember.
A stalwart in the field of women’s rights activism, Bhasin and had started her work in 1970, focusing on gender, education, human development and the media. Known for being a part of the ‘One Billion Rising’ campaign among other important movements.
After resigning from her job at the United Nations in 2002, she founded Sangat, an NGO. Sangat works with underprivileged women from rural and tribal communities.
Bhasin has written several books on feminism, understanding patriarchy and gender, which was translated into more than 30 languages.
Historian S Irfan Habib tweeted, “Very sad to hear about the tragic demise of a dear friend and an exceptional human being Kamla Bhasin. We were just discussing her health yesterday but never realised that she will leave us the next day, U will be terribly missed.”