“Who put my honor in my vagina? It is a patriarchal idea that getting raped would ruin my community’s honor. I would like to ask everyone right now, why did you place your community’s honor in a woman’s vagina?“
The world has lost a gem today. An outspoken feminist, women’s rights activist, author, and renowned poet, Kamla Bhasin took her last breath on September 25, 2021. She was diagnosed with cancer.
Kamla called herself “The Midnight Generation” as she was born during the independence days (24 April 1946). She was the fourth of six siblings. She grew up in Rajasthan and her father was a doctor. Those years were instrumental for her activism as she noticed different issues that women face in Indian villages.
Kamla earned her Master’s of Arts from Rajasthan University and then went to West Germany to study Sociology of Development at the University of Münster.
- For a year, she taught at the Orientation Centre of the German Foundation for Developing Countries in Bad Honnef.
- Returned to India and worked with Seva Mandir where she met her future husband Baljit Malik.
- In 1975, she started working with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation in Bangkok.
- In 1979, she moved to India to support the women’s movement in connection to the Mathura Rape Case where two policemen had raped a Dalit woman in lockup.
- Kamla quit her job at UN in 2002 and to work full-time on her feminist network, Sangat: A Feminist Network and her poem ‘Kyunki main ladki hoon, mujhe padhna hai’
- Her appearance and views at the Indian Television Series ‘Satyamev Jayate’ was applauded a lot.
- After almost three decades of their marriage, Kamla divorced her husband after incidents of domestic violence and infidelity by him.
- She lost her daughter Meeto Bhasin Malik in 2006.
- Her son named Chotu suffers from Cerebral Palsy after a vaccine reacted badly.
Views About Feminism
“People are not happy with feminism, and even if I call it XYZ, they will still be against. It is because they mind the fact that we want freedom, we want equality, and there are lots of people, customs, and traditions who don’t want to give women freedom.”
“Feminism was not a war between men and women but a war against the ideology of patriarchy, i.e. a clash of two ideologies.One that elevates men and gives them power, and the other, that advocates for equality!”