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With respect to studying or amplifying the women’s movement or activism in India, the mainstream outlook has invariably been ignorant towards the efforts of the marginalised caste identities towards attaining dignity, let alone the incessant forms of discrimination that they face. Through this infographic, I make an attempt to look at some inspiring Dalit women activists who despite having undergone setbacks, have been driving towards social justice in their respective capacities and fields, by documenting as well as taking forward the struggles of the marginalised who are subjected to atrocities and violence on a daily basis in this country. 

1. Radhika Vemula

Radhika Vemula is an activist against caste-based discrimination. She continues the work started by her son, Rohith Vemula, who died by suicide at the University of Hyderabad in 2016 after being subjected to institutional casteist discrimination. She is seeking to end caste discrimination in universities and other higher education institutions.

2. Ruth Manorama

Ruth Manorama is a Dalit social activist from Bangalore who fights for Dalit women’s rights, the rights of domestic workers and those in the unorganised labour sector, as well as urban slum dwellers. In 2006, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award.

3. Cynthia Stephen

Cynthia Stephen is a Dalit activist, writer, social policy researcher, and an independent journalist. She works in the areas of Dalit studies, affirmative action and educational policy. She has written many articles and contributed chapters for books on issues of Dalit women, Brahmanical patriarchy, caste discrimination, and many more. She is the president of the Training, Editorial and Development Services Trust (TEDS) and lives in Bangalore, India.

4. Gauri Kumari

Gauri Kumari is a lawyer and has been working with the ‘All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch‘ since 2008. She has been practising in the Munger Civil Court (Bihar) as an advocate for 19 years now while also actively mobilising voices of Dalit women in the state. Last year, she became the first woman VP of the ‘Munger Bar Council’.

5. Kiruba Munusamy

Kiruba Munusamy is an advocate practicing in the Supreme Court of India. She is a social, political and judicial activist, striving for social justice and is working against various human rights violations in India that include caste and gender-based discriminations, atrocities against Dalits and women, discrimination in the academic spaces, death penalty, state repression and prohibition of the inhuman practice of manual scavenging.

6. Beena Pallical

Beena Pallical is currently the Director of Economic and Educational Rights in the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR). Over the past 8 years, she has pushed for the inclusion of Dalit and tribal women in policy formulation and trained many young minds. Her main focus of work continues to be on economic justice and specifically looking at gender equity and equality. 

7. Thenmozhi Soundararajan

Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a Dalit rights activist based in the US. She is also a transmedia storyteller, songwriter, hip hop musician and technologist. Through her work across mediums, she centers the voices of marginalised communities into the vital debates of our time. Some of her current projects have included the trans-media project #Dalitwomenfight. She is the Executive Director of an Ambedkarite organisation called ‘Equality Labs’.


Please note that the above list is not exhaustive.

Featured Image Source: Feminism In India

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