Kamla Bhasin, eminent feminist, poet, and philanthropist passed away in the early hours of Saturday, 25 September at the age of 75. She had been reportedly diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.
News of her death was shared by fellow activist Kavita Srivastava. “Kamla Bhasin, our dear friend, passed away around 3 am today 25th Sept. This is a big setback for the women’s movement in India and the South Asian region,” she tweeted. “She celebrated life whatever the adversity. Kamla you will always live in our hearts. In Sisterhood, which is in deep grief,” she tweeted.
Kamla Bhasin, our dear friend, passed away around 3am today 25th Sept. This is a big setback for the women's movement in India and the South Asian region. She celebrated life whatever the adversity. Kamla you will always live in our hearts. In Sisterhood, which is in deep grief pic.twitter.com/aQA6QidVEl
— Kavita Srivastava (@kavisriv) September 25, 2021
Born in 1946, Bhasin had been a leading presence in the women’s rights movement in India since the 1970s. Her influence and activism had also spread to other south Asian countries. She remained an outstanding advocate for gender equality and women’s rights for over 3 decades.
She is best known for her work with ‘Sangat’ which is a feminist network working for gender justice, equality and peace regionally and globally and is engaged with working for underprivileged women from rural and tribal communities and for her poem ‘Kyunki main ladki hoon, mujhe padhna hai.’
Bhasin had also brought the ‘Azaadi’ chant to India, which Pakistani feminists first used to protest against the Zia-ul-Haq regime.
Kamla Bhasin had also been a persuasive author, using words to power the feminist movement in the country and abroad. She authored several ground-breaking books in the South Asian feminist movement, including Understanding Gender, What is Patriarchy and Borders & Boundaries: How Women Experienced the Partition of India.