A prominent voice in India's feminist movement for nearly five decades now, Kamla Bhasin has been associated with iconic organisations working for gender equality, including Jagori and Sangat A Feminist Network. Having started her career as a nonprofit development worker in the state of Rajasthan in the early '70s, and then having worked for 27 years through the UN, Ms Bhasin's experience at the grassroots exposed her to the deep gender inequalities inherent in a society already divided along class and caste lines, and led to her transformation into a feminist development activist. In this interview with IDR, she discusses the evolution of and way forward for the Indian feminist movement, as well as, how economic development can't guarantee gender equality.
Your work as a development activist in India began in 1972—46 years ago. That decade was also unique and pivotal in India's political and social history. Can you talk about your experience working at the grassroots at that time?