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Social activist and feminist writer Vidya Bal an inspiration for many

By HT Correspondent, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2020 09:06 PM IST

Veteran social activist and feminist writer Vidya Bal who passed away at a private nursing home in the city on Thursday was known for her heroic crusade against oppressive practices involving women.

Bal, who was 84, was at the forefront in the fight for women’s rights and gender equality.

Her remains were kept at her Prabhat Road residence for tributes from here admirers and she was cremated on Thursday evening at Vaikuntha crematorium. She is survived by elder daughter Vinita Bal and sons Aniket and Yashodhan Bal.

In 2016, she, along with high court lawyer Neeelima Vartak had approached Bombay High Court to demand enforcement of a law that allowed temple entry for all, including women, in Hindu religious places. Their Public Interest Litigation sought implementation of provisions of Maharashtra Hindu Place of Worship Act, 1956 related to the entry of women at Shani Shingnapur temple. The high court accepted their plea, paving way for women’s right to temple entry at Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district, which was acted upon by the young crusader, Trupti Desai of Bhumata Brigade.

Bal started her career as a reporter in ‘Stree’ magazine by Kirloskar Publications in 1964 where she worked for 22 years. In August 1989 she started her own magazine ‘Milun Saryajani’ which focused on gender equality, women issues and progressive struggle in India.

In 1982 she formed ‘Naree Samata Manch’ to give a voice for women related issues. Through the organisation, she held workshops, seminars and awareness programmes in the city and nearby rural areas. An author of ten books she visited various countries like Sri Lanka, Kenya, England, America and Pakistan.

“She was suffering from the prolonged illness from last two months and underwent a minor operation after which she was keeping well. Fifteen days back she called all the family members and informed us in writing that she is satisfied with life and doesn’t want to take medication anymore. From the past two days her intake of water was also less,” said her son Yashodhan.

“On Thursday morning she called all the family members and said her time has come to bid the final goodbye and she is satisfied with life. She breathed her last at 10.10 am on Thursday,” said Yashodhan.

“She always taught us to be independent and to work hard. She made us self-dependent, so every male member in our family knows how to cook and do other household chores. She was an inspiration to thousands of women especially from the rural area, to whom she taught how to live life with dignity. Recently on January 12, we celebrated her birthday,” said Yashodhan.

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