As co-founder of Asmita Resource Centre for Women, one of the most active feminist advocacy groups in India, I been a women’s rights advocate, campaigner and pro bono socio-legal counsellor especially for survivors of domestic violence. I led the legal aid, strategic litigation, training and capacity building programmes, and research initiatives in this centre for 25 years – from its inception in 1991 till 2016, when programmes with full support closed in a major organisational restructuring. From 1993-1999 I worked full time at the centre focussing on legal services and socio-legal research; through the 25 years that it has been active, however, she has been closely involved in every aspect of its work on a weekly basis in addition to my formal teaching responsibilities in NALSAR and CSD. As a consciousness-raising, public action collective, Asmita has intervened in political debates and larger questions of censorship, organising women creative writers and writing on feminist concerns with respect to politics of the radical left on the one side and the fundamentalist right on the other. A set of essays published in the Economic and Political Weekly that comment on radical left politics and peace processes in Andhra Pradesh provide a glimpse of my collective engagement on these questions. I also petitioned the High Court in the case of the physical attacks on Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen in Hyderabad, and published an article based on my arguments in the writ petition.
My work with community organisers, survivors of violence, women’s rights and human rights advocates, campaigns at the local, regional, national and international levels and creative writers, triggered by my location in Asmita have informed my academic preoccupations and writing so that this aspect of my work is deeply embedded in and constitutive of the range of my academic pursuits. The closing project in Asmita – a literature anthology of progressive writing in Telugu over three centuries, published bilingually, Vibhaa Prabhaatamulu and Voices of Resistance (2023) -- marks the successful completion of three decades of work in feminist organising.