ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Intersecting Journeys

A Tribute to Gail Omvedt

Gail Omvedt widened the horizons of scholarship on caste, class, and gender by probing into hitherto unexplored areas and inspired fellow scholars and activists to pursue new inquiries. A fellow traveller on the path of transformative theory and praxis looks back on these intertwined journeys.


The author is grateful to Sanjay Kamble who asked her to write this small tribute to Gail Omvedt. The author is deeply thankful that she did write as requested so she could record her debt to Gail for opening up her own thinking on so many different aspects of the past and the present.

I am not sure when I first met Gail Omvedt. I did not travel very much in the 1980s and the 1990s. I was a young teacher dealing with a very heavy load of undergraduate teaching while also getting involved in many other activities in this very lively women’s college. In contrast, Gail was very well known. By the early 1980s, she was a forceful voice from western India, heard even in far-off Delhi, which usually imagined itself as the leading voice of the civil rights movement, the women’s movement and every other movement. Gail put this illusion to rest. She had published her pioneering work on Maharashtra—Cultural Revolt in a Colonial Society: The Non-Brahman Movement in Western India 1873 to 1930—the first of the many books she wrote over the decades.

Gail’s introduction to the world of scholarship on India was the product of a phase of massive upheaval in the United States (US) academy, starting from the university system and ultimately transforming that country. By the late 1960s, universities had already experienced the impact of the civil rights movement and campuses were gripped by protests against the Vietnam War, which finally led to the US governments’ formal withdrawal from Vietnam.

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Updated On : 13th Nov, 2021
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