Gail Omvedt
American-born Indian sociologist and human rights activist Dr. Gail Omvedt (1941–2021) died on 25 August at her home in Kasegaon in rural Maharashtra, India.  She was 80 years old. Omvedt’s  work was wide-ranging, covering topics including caste, gender, economics, tribal issues, and socio-agricultural issues, with a special focus on women. Her publications included: Dalits and the Democratic Revolution: Dr. Ambedkar and the Dalit Movement in Colonial India (Sage India 1994), Dalit Visions: The Anticaste Movement and Indian Cultural Identity (Orient Longman 1995), Growing Up Untouchable: A Dalit Autobiography (Rowman and Littlefield 2000), Buddhism in India: Challenging Brahmanism and Caste (Sage India 2003), Ambedkar: Towards an Enlightened India (Penguin 2005), Seeking Begumpura: The Social Vision of Anticaste Intellectuals (Navayana 2009), and Understanding Caste: From Buddha to Ambedkar and Beyond (Orient Blackswan 2011

Remembering Meena
The great Afghan woman martyr, Meena (1956-1987) founded the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) in 1977. She was assassinated by the hired goons of KHAD (Afghanistan branch of KGB) and their funda-mentalist accomplices in Quetta, Pakistan, on February 4, 1987.

RAWA resolutely fought for the rights of the Afghan women against the Islamists and the Russian occupation (1980-87) of their country offering heroic sacrifices. RAWA kept on the fight for the rights of the Afghan women during the first Taliban rule (1996-2001), the USA led occupation of the country (2001-2021) and continues the resistance during the current 2nd rule of the Taliban.

In the following is reproduced a part of Meena’s poem which she wrote few months before her martyrdom.

I'm the woman who has awoken
I've arisen and become a tempest through the ashes of my burnt children
I've arisen from the rivulets of my brother's blood
My nation's wrath has empowered me
My ruined and burnt villages fill me with hatred against the enemy
Oh compatriot, no longer regard me weak and incapable,
My voice has mingled with thousands of arisen women
My fists are clenched with fists of thousands compatriots
To break all these sufferings all these fetters of slavery.
I'm the woman who has awoken,
I've found my path and will never return.
Shamsul Islam, New Delhi

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Vol. 54, No. 10, Sep 5 - 11, 2021