Kamla Bhasin, an iconic feminist activist and writer, passed away in the early hours of Saturday. She had been diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and died at the age of 75.
Activist Kavita Srivastava shared the news of Bhasin’s demise on Saturday morning at around 6:58 am.
“Kamla Bhasin, our dear friend, passed away around 3am today September 25. This is a big setback for the women’s movement in India and the South Asian region,” Srivastava wrote on Twitter. “She celebrated life whatever the adversity. Kamla you will always live in our hearts. In Sisterhood, which is in deep grief.”
Bhasin was born on April 24, 1946.
She is best known for her work with Sangat – a feminist network – and for her poem “Kyunki main ladki hoon, mujhe padhna hai.”
Kamla was a social scientist by training and actively engaged with issues related to development, education, gender, media and several others for over 35 years. She also wrote for The Free Press Journal. She began her work for the empowerment of the rural and urban poor in 1972, with a voluntary organisation in Rajasthan, India.
Bhasin also worked for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation from 1976 to 2001. After resigning from her job at the UN in 2002, she worked with Sangat, is a feminist network working for gender justice, equality and peace regionally and globally. Sangat works with underprivileged women from rural and tribal communities, often using non-literary tools such as plays, songs and art.
Bhasin has authored several books on gender theory, feminism and understanding patriarchy, many of which have been translated into more than 30 languages.
Bhasin has been an integral part of the One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end rape and sexual violence against women. She visited Kathmandu to flag off the 2017 edition of the movement in Nepal.