5 Indian Women Activist Who Spoke Truth To Power

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Indian women activists 2022 list is endless with names of countless women who stood for their and others’ rights despite facing the fear of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and countless days in prison. These are women who have talked about the lives of others and are actively working towards benefitting a community of women and others.

For generations, women have taken part in protests and were contributors to the echoing sound of sloganeering. Very often their political space was snatched by men and their voices remained invisible, but their spirits and fights maintained the vigour and fire. Whether be women’s rights or human rights or protest against powerful domination by the state, women have stood first in line.

Filmmaker and Historian Uma Chakravarti, who is also involved in activism, makes films about women who were politically active and ended up going to prison. She said that it is important for us to recognise the stories of these women and make them publicly available. For men can talk about their involvement, but it is important to give the stage to women as well. Chakravarti had decided that she will make a film on women who go to jail for their political cause. She was not going to do the story of men because they tell their own stories, women do not.

Suggested Reading: Historian & Filmmaker Uma Chakravarti On Why It Is Important To Visually Show History

Indian Women Activists 2022

Sudha Bharadwaj

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Sudha Bharadwaj bail plea

Popularly known as a people’s lawyer, she was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1961. She was part of many political movements at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, where she spent her early years with her mother Krishna Bhardwaj, who was an economist. She has spent more than three decades working with the marginalised sections of the country, particularly in Chhattisgarh. Through her legal work, she defended the rights of the workers. She recently got bail in the Elgar Parishad case where she was arrested along with activists like Varavara Rai, and the late Stan Swamy, amongst others.

Natasha Narwal

She is a student and a woman rights activist who is one of the founding members of the group of women students and university alumni across Delhi, Pinjra Tod. The purpose of the group was to fight against the oppressive forces and all the restrictions imposed on women students, amongst other issues. She was arrested in 2020 for allegedly engaging in “premeditated conspiracy” in the northeast Delhi riots that took place in February 2020. She has been protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which if implemented would make thousands of people in India homeless.

Karuna Nundy

She is an advocate at the Supreme Court of India and is also an international human rights lawyer. She represents and acts as the legal advisor to governments, United Nations and civil societies. She is known for fighting for women in the court of law and is popular for her stance on marital rape laws in India. She was listed as the 100 most influential people on the TIME list for 2022.

Shehla Rashid

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Don’t Let My Arrest Divert Your Attention: Shehla Rashid On Sedition|Pic: by The Quint

She is an Indian human rights student activist who has been pursuing her PhD at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. She was the vice-president of the JNU students’ union from 2015 to 2016 and a member of the All India Students Association. She has talked about the plight of minors that were being held in custody while awaiting trial and was also a part of the Occupy UGC movement. In 2019, she had tweeted about Kashmiri girls being trapped at a hostel in Dehra Dun, a post in which Uttarakhand police filed an FIR against Rashid.

Aruna Roy

She is one of the most prominent activists, who was a civil servant from 1968 to 1975. She resigned from the post of IAS and started to work for the welfare of the rural poor in Rajasthan. She also formed the MKSS Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan in 1990, which played an important role in the advocacy of the Right to Information Law, which was passed in 2005. She is also part of the National Federation of Indian Women and was mentioned in the TIME 100 influential people for 2011.