Remembering Geeta Das

I first met Geeta Das when I was a student in the 1990s. A small, feisty, lively woman, who moved busily, like a bird. A face full of warmth and feeling. And speaking to her, I never felt the distance of age between us. For me, a JNU student, she felt like a kindred spirit, whose sensibilities matched mine and that of so many women much younger than her.

I especially miss Geeta Di in the times we’re in, when the Hindutva fundamentalists are resurgent and are openly attacking women’s freedoms. With what energy Geeta Di did battle with those self-declared ‘custodians’ of ‘Indian culture’ and ‘Indian women’!

Age did not stall or stale Geeta Di’s fighting spirit, even as her body became increasingly frail. I recall the last time I heard her speak in public – at the AIPWA West Bengal Conference in 2010. She spoke about the situation of under-paid and over-worked working women, and peasant women resisting land grab in the State. She said, ‘Some say I am a feminist. Well, I am, indeed, a feminist! Shouldn’t we all be, as long as injustice against women remains a reality?’

Geeta Di, your courage in your own life, your spirited presence in women's movements and the Left movement, will always inspire us. I hope there will always be a bit of you, alive and fighting, in all of us!

- Kavita Krishnan

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