SANGLI (MAHARASHTRA): Renowned US-born researcher, writer on Ambedkarism and Dalit movement Dr. Gail Omvedt passed away following a brief illness at Kasegaon, here early on Wednesday, said an aide.

She was 81 and is survived by her husband Dr. Bharat Patankar, a daughter Prachi, son-in-law Tejaswi and grand-daughter Nia, who have settled in the US.

Born in Minneapolis in the US state of Minnesota, Dr. Omvedt came to India after completing her higher studies and plunged herself into the various social movements for the Dalits, poor and downtrodden, farmers, women and other public causes.

American researcher Gail Omvedt came to India for her PhD fieldwork on Mahatma Phule’s Satyshodhak and Non-Brahmin Movement in the 1970s. She dedicated the rest of her life to writing, speaking and advocating for Dalit – Bahujan and human rights.

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The Omvedt-Patankar couple founded the Shramik Mukti Dal in the early-1980s, while she became an Indian citizen around 1983.

She authored several books on various social subjects, taught in colleges and universities and penned columns for various newspapers, worked for the United Nations Development Programme, Oxfam NOVIB, and other international bodies.

Dr. Omvedt’s last rites shall be performed on Thursday morning at the Krantiveer Bapuji Patankar Sanstha campus in Sangli, the aide said.