Researcher, author and one of the intellectual voices of the Bahujan movement Gail Omvedt passed away on August 25. She was 81.
Omvedt was an American-born Indian scholar who authored books on Dalit politics, women’s struggle and anti-caste movement. She also participated in various people’s movements in the country, including the one for the rights of people displaced by to Koyna Dam.
She co-founded Shramik Mukti Dal along with her husband and activist Bharat Patankar. The couple’s daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter live in the U.S.
As a college student in the U.S., Omvedt was part of the anti-war movement there. She visited India during her doctoral research work to study social movements here and studied the work of Mahatma Phule. Her thesis was on ‘Non-Brahmin Movement in Western India’.
After deciding to live in India, her association with veteran social worker Indutai Patankar led to her studying and participating in women’s struggles in the country.
She was the head of the Phule-Ambedkar Chair in Pune University, department of sociology; professor at Institute of Asian studies, Kopenhegan; Nehru Memorial Museum and Library at New Delhi, among others.
The last rites will be conducted on August 26 at Kasegaon in Sangli district.
Omvedt authored over 25 books, including In Colonial Society – Anti caste Movement in Western India, Seeking Begampura, Buddhism in India, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mahatma Phule, Dalit and the Democratic Revolution, Understanding Caste, We Will Smash the Prison and New Social Movement in India.
Here are list of some of her major books
- Understanding Caste – 2011
- Ambedkar : Towards an Enlightened India – 2004
- Patriarchy – 1986
- Seeking Begumpura : The Social vision of Anti Caste intellectuals – 2008
- Dalits and the Democratic Revolution : Dr. Ambedkar and the dalit movement in colonial – 1994
- Dalit Visions – 1995
- Buddhism in india : challenging Brahmanis and caste – 2003
- Building the Ambedkar Revolution : Sambhaji Tukaram Gaikwad and kokan dalits – 2011
- Cultural Revolt in a colonial society : The non bramhan movement in western india. – 1976
- Seeking Begumpura – 2008
- We will smash this prison – Indian women in struggle – 1980
- Reinventing Revolution : Now social movement and the socialist tradition in india – 1993
- Dalit Visions : Anti Caste movement & the construction of an Indian Identity – 2006
- Land, Caste & politics in Indian state – 1982
- Dalit Visions 2 /E (second edition) – 2011
- Jotirao phule and the ideology of social revolution in India – 2004
- Violence against women : New movements and new theories in India – 1990
- Dalit and the Democratic Revolution Dr. Ambedkar and the Dalit Movement – 1994
- Buddhism in India : Challenging Brahmanis and caste – 2003
- Social justice philanthropy – 2009
- The Songs of Tukuba – 2012
- The Dalit Liberation movement in the colonial period – 2004
- Gender and Technology : Emerging visions from Asia – 1995
A part of this report first published at The Hindu