Gail Omvedt breathed her last in the early hours of Tuesday. The 81-year-old was a well-known sociologist and human rights activist. She published many books on the anti-caste movement, Dalit politics, and women's struggles in India. She was involved in numerous Dalit and anti-caste movements, environmental, farmers' and women's movements, especially with rural women.
Gail Omvedt was born in Minneapolis and studied at Carleton College. She completed her Ph.D. in sociology at UC Berkeley in 1973. She has been an Indian citizen since 1983. She married Bharat Patnakar and has been living with her mother-in-law at Kasegaon of Maharashtra. In recent years, she worked as a consulting sociologist on gender, environment, and rural development, for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Oxfam Novib (NOVIB), and other institutions. She was a consultant for UN agencies and NGOs and served as a Dr. Ambedkar Chair Professor at NISWASS in Orissa, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Pune, as Asian Guest Professor at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen.
Here is the list of awards won by Gail Omvedt
Matoshree Bhimabai Ambedkar Award (2012)
Honorary Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, 1964–65
Fulbright Fellowship as Tutor in English in India, June 1963-March 1964
University of California Graduate Fellowships, 1964–65, 1965–66
American Institute of Indian Studies, Junior Fellowship for Ph.D. research in India on “The NonBrahman Movement in Maharashtra,” January–December 1971
American Association of University Women, Fellowship for research on “Women’s Movement in India,” January–December 1975
Savitribai Phule Puraskar, Padmashri Kavivarya Narayan Surve Sarvajanik Vacanalay, Nashik, 2002
Dr. Ambedkar Chetna Award, Manavwadi Rachna Manch Punjab, August, 2003
ABP Majha Sanman Purskar, 2012
Vitthal Ramji Shinde Award, April 2015
Gail Omvedt married Bharat Patankar, a leading activist, co-founder, and President of the left-wing of Shramik Mukti Dal and of the peasant movement in Maharashtra. He worked for almost 40 years in movements of workers, farmers, dam evictees, agricultural laborers, the drought eradication movement, a women's liberation movement, rights of farmers on windmills, and radical anti-caste movements.
Condolences poured in for American born Indian Scholar, Gail Omvedt from all the corners. Here are the tweets.
RIP Gail Omvedt! Looks like the newspapers are yet to catch up with the news 🙁 pic.twitter.com/UEUvCYxsv4— Parag Waknis (@wparag) August 25, 2021
Dr. Gail Omvedt is no more. A hero. An inspiration. A Social Scientist, True Activist.— Social Justice::சமூக நீதி, 💜 (@Sathyantweets) August 25, 2021
She explained Caste, Class, Gender, Hinduism, Marxism, Adivasis, Farmers, Patriarchy, Bhakti movement, and a lot more so well.
Respect, Love to a beautiful soul. Go Well Mam! Jai Bhim!💙 pic.twitter.com/asMAWeBsPD
A very sad news coming from Kasegaon, Maharashtra. Today morning, Gail Omvedt passed away after her age-related illness. My deepest condolences to the family. Salute and Shradhanjali, Gail.https://t.co/ujDzUsoruk pic.twitter.com/59bh519wlO— urmilesh (@UrmileshJ) August 25, 2021
Dr Gail Omvedt, a great activist, feminist, the scholar is no more. She will be remembered for her great literature work on caste, women empowerment, Ambedkar and violence. Rest in power #GailOmvedt pic.twitter.com/zgnB3lXS91— Dalit Congress 🇮🇳 (@INCSCDept) August 25, 2021
Gail Omvedt is no https://t.co/yFJSutfrU4 intellectual giant of our times leaves us.Her contribution 2 Phule-Ambedkarite scholarship was unparalleled. She passed away this morning in Kasegoan, Maharashtra. Heartfelt condolences #Gailomvedt @Profdilipmandal @HansrajMeena pic.twitter.com/HvgZ5Nj6bk— Teesta Setalvad (@TeestaSetalvad) August 25, 2021
Sorry to hear about the sad demise of Dr Gail Omvedt, a scholar whose dedication to the Ambedkarite movement was stellar & her work will live on for generations!— Dr. Nitin Raut 🇮🇳 (@NitinRaut_INC) August 25, 2021
Humble Tributes #GailOmvedt pic.twitter.com/P2gbEhmvUZ
American researcher Gail Omvedt came to India for her PhD fieldwork on Mahatma Phule's Satyshodhak and Non-Brahmin Movement in the 1970s. She dedicated the rest of her life to writing, speaking and advocating for Dalit - Bahujan and human rights. pic.twitter.com/25rUPWlWcz— Somnath Waghmare (@Somwaghmare) August 25, 2021