Human rights activist, scholar and author Gail Omvedt died at her house in Maharashtra’s Sangli district on Tuesday, The Indian Express reported. She was 81.
Omvedt was born in Minneapolis, the United States. She arrived in India in the 1970s to study caste and Mahatma Phule’s Satyashodhak movement, according to The Wire. Later, she associated herself with various social causes.
She married activist Bharat Patankar. Omvedt co-founded the Shramik Mukti Dal with Patankar in 1980. The organisation addresses farmers’ problems, deals with displacement caused due to building of dams, drought and caste politics.
She was the daughter-in-law of Indumati Patankar – a veteran activist from Kasegaon who has participated in the freedom struggle and organised women’s movements.
Her bibliography includes 25 books. Omvedt’s works like Seeking Begumpura: The Social Vision of Anticaste Intellectuals, Ambedkar: Towards an Enlightened India and We Will Smash this Prison have touched upon topics of caste-class ethnic problems, women’s predicaments in different social spheres, Dalit politics and the political economy.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi president, other ministers from Maharashtra government and a host of social media users mourned her death.