Dr. Ila Pathak was a professor of English language and literature at H. K. Arts College, Ahmedabad and free- lance journalist addressing women’s concerns. In 1981, Ilaben with her young colleagues and students established AWAG (acronym means noise), that energetically raised voice against sexism in advertisements, media and textbooks.
AWAG has been consistently working to protest all kinds of violence against women. Ilaben’s courageous and consistent work among victims of communal riots post demolition of Babri Musjid in 1993 and among Muslim refugees after Gujarat riots in 2002 symbolized her secular humanism.
Ilaben served on many apex bodies to further the cause of women. In 2012, she was honoured for her work among poor and oppressed women- National Commission for Women’s Award. Four books were published based on a compilation of her articles promoting women’s striving for dignity and their struggle for empowerment.
Gujarat lost a dedicated social activist who stood by socially excluded sections of society, especially brutalized women when Dr. Ila Pathak passed away on January 9, 2014 in Ahmedabad. Her four-decades-long pioneering work will always give us strength and inspiration to keep the torch of women’s rights burning in today’s volatile circumstances.