Telangana’s social and political activist Kalpana Dayala died on August 19, 2021, after suffering from recurrent liver cancer. Committed to voicing the concerns of the weaver’s community, her family and supporters deeply mourned the loss.
— Vamshi Chand Reddy వంశీచంద్ రెడ్డి (@VamsiChandReddy) August 19, 2021
Dayala raised awareness among artisan communities at the ground-level. Having pursued a PhD on the ‘Rural Artisans and Handloom women weavers in Andhra Pradesh’ at Osmania University, she worked for policy advocacy with trade unions.
In 2017, she raised concerns about hardly any weaving cluster in Telangana having artisans under 40 years of age. By then she had already worked in the field for nearly a decade. In fact, she organised throughout Telangana in 2001 at the constituency level and block level. During media interviews, she spoke about NREGS, the state of the handloom community and issues of girl children.
In her blog created years ago she said, “Being woman from a backward weaving community I myself could truly represent the people of Bhongir assembly constituency.”
Cognisant of how to approach the youth, Dayala also had an active YouTube channel under her name to discuss local issues. She also conducted radio talks to give career guidance to students. In particular, she helped many ambitious children of the weaver community who hoped to create alternative marketing options to sustain the profession.
Her death sparked immediate messages of condolences and grief at the loss of a community trailblazer.