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Gail Omvedt

Dr. Gail Omvedt is an American born Indian scholar, sociologist and human rights activist. Omvedt has been involved in Dalit and anti-caste movements, environmental, farmers' and women's movements.

Omvedt posits that Hindutva groups foster an ethnic definition of Hinduism based on geography, ancestry and heritage in order to create a solidarity amongst various castes, despite the prevalence of caste-based discrimination. Omvedt endorsed the stand taken by Dalit activists at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism that caste discrimination is similar to racism in regarding discriminated groups as "biologically inferior and socially dangerous."Omvedt's dissertation was on Cultural Revolt in a Colonial Society: The NonBrahman Movement in Western India, 1873-1930. Omvedt's academic writing includes numerous books and articles on class, caste and gender issues, most notably:

  • We Shall Smash This Prison: Indian Women in Struggle (1979),
  • Reinventing Revolution: New Social Movements in India (1993),
  • Gender and Technology: Emerging Asian Visions (1994), Dalits and the Democratic Revolution (1994),
  • Dalit Visions: the Anticaste movement and Indian Cultural Identity (1994)
    Her more recent works are:
  • Buddhism in India : Challenging Brahmanism and Caste,
  • Growing Up Untouchable: A Dalit Autobiography Among Others.