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Feminist icon, writer Kamla Bhasin succumbs to cancer at 75

NEW DELHI – Kamla Bhasin, a renowned activist, and writer who’s been described as the pioneer of the women’s rights movement in South Asia, has passed away after battling cancer.

Reports in media quoting sources said Bhasin, passed away in the Indian capital in the wee hours of Saturday. She participated in an online meeting despite being severely ill. The What is Patriarchy writer was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, she leaves behind two children.

Many referred to her as a social scientist by training as she was actively engaged with social issues including education, gender, media, and several others for over 3.5 decades. She started working for the empowerment of the rural and urban poor in 1972, with a voluntary organization in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

The 75-year-old was best known for her work with feminist network Sangat and for her poem Kyunki main ladki hoon, mujhe padhna hai.

She was born in Shahidanwali village in 1946 in Pakistan, and later shifted to India. Bhasin graduated from Jaipur’s Maharani College and then completed her Masters’s from Rajasthan University. She later traveled to Germany for advanced study in sociology.

Upon returning, she started working for the United Nations for more than two decades. Soon after her death, tributes from across South Asia started pouring in.

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