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Rajni Tilak, who led fight for Dalit rights, remembered

Rajni Tilak (60) died on March 30 after she was admitted due to an illness to St Stephen’s Hospital. She is survived by her daughter.

Written by Surbhi Gupta | New Delhi | Published: April 7, 2018 1:57:58 am
Rajni Tilak, who led fight for Dalit rights, remembered At the memorial for Rajni Tilak in IIC, Friday. (Amit Mehra)

Noted Dalit activist, feminist and writer Rajni Tilak was remembered as “a fighter, pacifier and a person with a deep sense of argument” by her friends and associates, during a memorial at India International Centre Annexe, Friday. Tilak (60) died on March 30 after she was admitted due to an illness to St Stephen’s Hospital. She is survived by her daughter.

The meet was organised by various Dalit groups, including National Federation of Dalit Women (NFDW) and National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights. “She used to fight for the cause and with even those who were fighting for the cause,” said Ruth Manorama, a close friend and president of NFDW.

On their decision to identify as Dalit feminists, she said, “People said we were creating a difference… But it was for a good cause. It is not a force which is dividing but uniting everyone. The aim of the Dalit women’s movement is to establish democracy and a secular state.”

Tilak served as executive director of the Centre for Alternative Dalit Media, and had co-founded the National Association of Dalit Organisations and Dalit Lekhak Sangh. A friend and associate, Ajita Rao, remembered Tilak as an activist who supported people and organisations across ideologies and politics.

Anant Kumar, an activist who had worked with her, said, “She had the ability to bring down rising emotions during an argument and bring a consensus among people.”

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