Migration Narratives: The SHRAM Blog

Homage to Sharit Bhowmik: He will remain an inspiration for scholar-activists

The tragic death of TISS Professor Sharit Bhowmik two days ago in Bangkok has left a gaping hole in that small but vital community of academics who have been vocal activists for causes that bring the voices of the most marginalised to the fore.

I did not know Dr Bhowmik personally and therefore I will restrain myself to this brief commentary (read e-social science’s more detailed obit here); but I have admired his steady focus on the lives and concerns of the working poor in India. His broad range of work has spanned types industry and multiple geographies. His numerous papers on workers unions across the country, in Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Gujarat and in metropolitan centres like Kolkata and Mumbai have offered deep insights into political processes, labour rights and methods of self-organisation and negotiation.

More recently, his work on hawkers and street vendors in collaboration with the National Street Vendors Association of India (NASVI), has contributed to building a movement that has pushed through a national law protecting the rights of this community. Moreover, his work has been relevant to a larger debate over the Right to the City in academic as well as activist circles, a debate that is now amplified to the highest levels with the inclusion of these principles in Habitat III’s New Urban Agenda as recently as yesterday.

A much-respected and loved teacher, Dr Bhowmik will be remembered for many years to come and the momentum of his research will continue to drive activist-researchers forward in their quest for a balanced view of the contradictory world we inhabit. We must make him proud.

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2 Responses to “Homage to Sharit Bhowmik: He will remain an inspiration for scholar-activists”

  1. Shibani Ghosh says:

    Dr Sharit Bhowmick was my cousin brother. And his untimely death has left us all in shock. But, to read your orbituary is to know him better. And to feel an immense pride in his body of work.
    Thank you for your thoughts.
    Shibani Ghosh

  2. Zigisha Mhaskar says:

    I had met Dr. Bhowmick very briefly last year in Pune, to discuss hawkers issues in relation to work being done by INHAF. In those couple of hours he had readily shared a lot of information and insights with us. Sorry to know about his untimely death. Condolences to his family.

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