|Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)|
|Assumed office |
|Member of Parliament – Rajya Sabha|
|Born||19 October 1947|
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
|Political party||Communist Party of India (Marxist)|
|Relations||Radhika Roy (sister) |
Prannoy Roy (brother in law)
Arundhati Roy (relative)
Vijay Prashad (nephew)
In 2005, she became the first woman member of the CPI(M) Politburo. She has also been the general secretary of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) from 1993 to 2004, and thereafter its vice-president.
In 1967, after graduation from Miranda House, she left for London, where she worked with Air India at Bond Street for four years. 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.
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.
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. On the suggestion of the party to understand practical politics, she joined the Calcutta University. Initially she worked with students in the college campus and later during the Bangladesh war at refugee camps in the State. She was also writing for the Party weekly and later became a full-time worker there. 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."
On 7 November 1975, she married Prakash Karat. The same year she started working as a trade union organiser with textile mill workers in North Delhi. 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. Karat is a prominent campaigner for gender issues and has fought within the party for adequate representation for women in its leadership.
On 11 April 2005, she was elected to the Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha as a CPI(M) member for West Bengal. 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.
She is married to Prakash Karat in 7 November 1975, a Keralite by origin and a prominent CPI(M) leader. Her sister Radhika Roy is married to Prannoy Roy, founder and CEO of NDTV. In 2005, she participated in Amu, a film made by her niece, Shonali Bose, on the Anti-Sikh riots in 1984. She is an aunt of the historian Vijay Prashad.
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