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Pioneer of women's studies Vina Mazumdar passes away
Thursday May 30, 2013 6:30 PM, ummid.com & Agencies

Vina Mazumdar, chronicler of the Indian women's movement and pioneer of women's studies and one of the patrons of the India chapter of the international movement to campaign for academic and cultural boycott of Israel, passed away Thursday after a brief illness. She was 86.

A social scientist of repute, Vina-di, as she is fondly known, was one of the key writers of the 1974 landmark report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India - Towards Equality.

A strong votary of women's rights and their representation in legislature, Mazumdar was the founding director of the Centre for Women's Development Studies (CWDS), an autonomous organisation under the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), where she remained a National Research Professor till the end.

In her autobiography, "Memories of a Rolling Stone", published in 2010, in which she spoke of her liberal upbringing, Kolkata of the 1940s, activism and policy making of the '60s and the '70s, is a significant contribution to the rich portfolio of women's writing in India.

Born in 1927, Mazumdar had studied in Calcutta University, Banaras Hindu University and Oxford University. She had taught in Patna University and Berhampur University, Odisha. She was also a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla.

She was a staunch supporter of Palestinian cause. In an appeal for acedemic and cultural boycott, she said, "When Palestinian students and teachers are not allowed to reach their universities, universities and schools are levelled by bombs and tanks, textbooks are prohibited from entering the Gaza, and artistic events closed down in Jerusalem, none of the foundational principles on which academic and cultural contact are based can ever be fulfilled."

" … We have come together to form the India Chapter of this international movement," the intellectuals said. They appealed to academics and artists to join the cause "which has become even more urgent today, when our nation's foreign policy has abandoned the ideals of self-determination and anti-colonialism", she said.

She is survived by three daughters and a son.



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