Brinda Karat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Brinda Karat
Brinda Karat by Debjani Basu.jpg
Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Assumed office
Member of ParliamentRajya Sabha
In office
ConstituencyWest Bengal
Personal details
Brinda Roy

(1947-10-17) 17 October 1947 (age 74)
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
Political partyCommunist Party of India (Marxist)
(m. 1975)
RelationsRadhika Roy (sister)
Prannoy Roy (brother-in-law)
Vijay Prashad (nephew)

Brinda Karat (born 17 October 1947)[1][2] is an Indian politician, elected to the Rajya Sabha as a Communist Party of India (Marxist) member on 11 April 2005 for West Bengal.

In 2005, she became the first woman member of the CPI(M) Politburo.[3] She has also been the general secretary of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) from 1993 to 2004,[4][5] and thereafter its vice-president.[6]

Political career[edit]

In 1967, after graduation from Miranda House, she left for London, where she worked with Air India at Bond Street for four years.[7] While working for Air India, she campaigned against the mandatory wearing of skirts in the airlines rather than the saree. The Air India headquarters finally agreed with her and ever since then women working for the airline in London can exercise a choice of whether to wear a saree or a skirt as their uniform.[8]

While working in London, she became associated with the anti-imperialist, and anti-war movements during the Vietnam War and Marxist ideology and wanted to bring that contextual understanding to India.[7]

In 1971, she decided to leave her job and return to Calcutta. She started her political work as a student activist since under the guidance of the Party she enrolled as a student in Calcutta University. Initially she worked with students in the college campus and later during the Bangladesh war at refugee camps in the State.[7] She was also writing for the Party weekly and later became a full-time worker there.[citation needed] In 1975, she shifted to Delhi "In 1975 I shifted to Delhi because I wanted to work in the trade unions. At that time our party general secretary was Comrade P. Sundaraiah. He was ahead of his time. He had a clear perspective of the area of work to assign workers. He had a sensitive cadre policy. I was privileged to join the party in Delhi when he was the leader. I was accepted and got my membership."[7]

On 7 November 1975, she married Prakash Karat.[9] The same year she started working as a trade union organiser with textile mill workers in North Delhi.[10] She grew to be active with worker's movements and the Indian women's movements. She gained prominence in the campaign for reform of rape laws in the 1980s.[11] Karat is a prominent campaigner for gender issues and has fought within the party for adequate representation for women in its leadership.[12]

On 11 April 2005, she was elected to the Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha as a CPI(M) member for West Bengal.[13] In 2005, she was also elected to the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the highest decision-making body of the party and Brinda Karat is its first woman member.[12]


She is married to Prakash Karat in 7 November 1975, a Keralite by origin and a prominent CPI(M) leader.[14][15] Her sister Radhika Roy is married to Prannoy Roy, founder and CEO of NDTV.[16] In 2005, she participated in Amu,[17] a film made by her niece, Shonali Bose, on the Anti-Sikh riots in 1984. She is an aunt of the historian Vijay Prashad.

Literary works[edit]

Brinda is the author of Survival and Emancipation: Notes from Indian Women's Struggles, a work addressing the challenges faced by women's movements in India from a left perspective.[3][4]


  • Survival and Emancipation: Notes from Indian Women's Struggles. Three Essays Collective, New Delhi, 2005. ISBN 81-88789-37-2.


  1. ^ "B'day Special: Brinda Karat " from 'air-hostess' to first female member of CPM Polit Bureau". India TV News. 16 October 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  2. ^ Sharma, Ashish (11 August 2007). "Interview, livemint". Mint. Archived from the original on 20 December 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  3. ^ a b Book Review, Frontline, Jul 02 – 15, 2005 Archived 15 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b "Author profile, threeessays". Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2008.
  5. ^ New woman on top December 2004
  6. ^ The 7th National Conference of AIDWA, Frontline, Dec. 04 – 17, 2004[Usurped!]
  7. ^ a b c d "The Rediff Interview/Marxist leader Brinda Karat". 4 May 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  8. ^ "A brand named Brinda". Calcutta: The Telegraph. 16 April 2005. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  9. ^ "The less sociable socialist". India Today. 14 December 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  10. ^ "The Rediff Interview/CPI-M Politburo member Brinda Karat". 6 May 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  11. ^ "January 27, 2013". Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Our politics is still regressive vis a vis women representation: Brinda Karat". The Hans India. 8 January 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Yechury, Brinda Karat take oath"[dead link]. The Hindu. 23 August 2005. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Prakash Karat". 24 April 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  15. ^ "Comrade Prakash Karat breaks his silence on Prakash Karat - Indian Express". 8 February 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  16. ^ Exclusive Interview/Brinda Karat; "Since her equally talented sister Radhika Roy and brother-in-law Dr Prannoy Roy run NDTV (New Delhi Television), Brinda's Leftist orientation is intriguing for many"
  17. ^ Brinda Karat at IMDb

External links[edit]