Guest Post by RANJANA PADHI & LAXMI MURTHY
There is no cure for mortality, yet there is a lingering sadness and a sense of loss at the passing away of a fellow-traveler, a saheli and a comrade. Any reflection of such lives becomes a reflection of the times. The times when we as women, and as feminist collectives, dared to go against the grain. The early years of the women’s movement were vastly different from the present reality where much is taken for granted and often celebrated ahistorically as individual achievement. The struggles of the 1980s made strident inroads into challenging the bastions of patriarchy in the form of collective resistance. Making that vital link in what is a virtually unknown history for an entire generation of young women might help to make sense of the present. Because Kalpana was active to the end, commenting – and raving – even about recent events, through the lens of a sharp feminist politics.
Kalpana Mehta, 67, a feminist activist of the autonomous women’s movement in India, breathed her last on May 27, 2020 at her residence in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Kalpana was diagnosed of the neuron disease called Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in mid 2017. She gradually lost speech as well as mobility. Even then, she was tuned in to all events through the daily newspaper and communicated her thoughts and ideas through the application Tobii with friends who visited her during this time. Remaining engaged with news and sharing her political concerns and reflections helped her bravely cope with the symptoms of ALS. Also, her characteristic humor and witty rebukes directed at the powers that be were intact to her last breath. Continue reading Writing about Kalpana, writing about the times: Ranjana Padhi & Laxmi Murthy