Today, ‘Azadi’ has become a youth rallying cry against injustice in all its manifestations. However, it was fundamentally a sort of patriarchal opposition.
Activist Kavita Srivastava announced on Twitter earlier today, “Our friend, Kamla Bhasin, passed approximately 3 a.m. today, September 25th,” she posted.
“This is a significant setback for the women’s movement in India and the South Asian region,” she tweeted. “She rejoiced in the face of tragedy. Kamla, you will live on in our hearts forever. In Sisterhood, which is bereaved.”
Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, tweeted, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of #KamlaBhasinJi. She was a pillar of India’s women’s movement. My condolences go out to her family and her friends. She will forever be an inspiration to many of us.”
Kamla Bhasin, as per Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, was not just a feminist activist but also a humanitarian who founded or participated in the founding of numerous great public interest organisations, namely Jagori in Himachal Pradesh and the School for Democracy in Rajasthan. “She will be missed by many others. May her soul rest in peace “, he posted it on Twitter.
Harsh Mander, a social campaigner, too expressed his sorrow at her death. “I am very devastated by Kamla Bhasin’s death.”. She has been and will continue to be a huge influence on many generations, teaching us about gender equality via word, action, poetry, song, and storytelling. She adored life and people “He tweeted about it.
Shashi Tharoor, a Congress politician, too took to Twitter to express his condolences for her passing. “Farewell to the inspiring Kamla Bhasin, the voice of women’s liberation, the heroine of girls’ education, everlasting poet,” he wrote below her poetry.
S Irfan Habib, a historian, stated, “It breaks my heart to learn of the unfortunate death of a good friend and great human being, Kamla Bhasin. We were just talking about her health the other day and had no idea she was going to depart us the next day. You will be sadly missed.”
In a tweet, Save the Children India stated, “Your legacy will live on via songs of hope and brave essays. The spirit of movement will continue to stoke the flames of transformation. Rest in peace, Kamla Bhasin. Your work will continue to inspire our combined efforts to effect change for every girl in the direction of the equality goal you advocated “.
Bhasin has been a significant figure in the women’s revolution in India and other South Asian countries since the 1970s. She launched the feminist network ‘Sangat’ in 2002, which works with poor women from rural and tribal areas, frequently using non-literary means such as plays, songs, and art.
Bhasin is the author of various books on gender theory and feminism, several of which have been transcribed into multiple languages. Interestingly, the iconic, albeit contentious, chant of ‘Azaadi,’ which has resonated throughout protest sites for decades, were said to be adopted by Bhasin as a feminist anti-patriarchy term.
Simultaneously, the feminist icon admitted that the statement was intended for everyone. During the ‘One Billion Rising from South Asia’ campaign to stop violence against women, she memorably screamed ‘Azadi’ not just for women but also for labourers, Dalits, Adivasis, and others. “From patriarchy-Azadi/hierarchy-Azadi/endless violence-Azadi/helpless silence-Azadi…for self-expression-Azadi/celebration-Azadi,” shouted Kamla.
Kamla Bhasin, born on April 24, 1946, specialised in gender, education, and human development. She is primarily recognised for her work with the Sangat-A Feminist Network and her poetry “Kyunki main ladki hoon, Mujhe padhna hai.” Her works and pamphlets have been translated into nearly 30 different languages. Her other notable works contain ‘Borders & Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition,’ ‘Understanding Gender,’ as well as ‘What Is Patriarchy?’
Bhasin was adamantly opposed to the assumption that feminism is a Western concept; she believed that Indian feminism has its own set of problems. She insisted that feminism was a war between concepts rather than between men and women.
“Kamla Bhasin was not only a women’s rights fighter but also a humanitarian who established and assisted in the establishment of several notable non-profit organisations, including Jagori in HP (Himachal Pradesh) and the School for Democracy in Rajasthan.” Prashant Bhushan said following her death. “She will be missed by many people. May her soul rest in peace.”