Vol. XLIII No. 26 June 30, 2019

AIDWA Pays Homage to Comrade Primila Loomba

THE All India Democratic Women’s Association, in a statement issued on June 26, expressed its heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of Primila Loomba, one of the veteran leaders of the women’s movement in India. She was 94 years old, born on December 24, 1924.

Primila Loomba, fondly called as Pimmi studied in Lahore and graduated from Kinnaird College. She and her friends were drawn to the progressive students union which was active in the anti-imperialist struggle. Her family migrated to India after partition. She joined the Communist Party in Delhi.

She was married to Satish Loomba, a prominent member of the CPI and a leading trade unionist, active in AITUC. Unfortunately, he died in a tragic air crash in the 1960s along with Mohan Kumaramangalam. Primila Loomba lost her husband at a very young age and had to shoulder the responsibility of bringing up her two small daughters, Ania and Bindiya as a single mother. Yet she continued to be involved with the activities of the CPI and NFIW.

She pursued a career in education and taught in Deshbandhu College, Delhi University for some time. For several years she taught at the Delhi Public School, R K Puram. She had a long association with Springdales School and the society running the schools.

Pimmi worked with the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) in Delhi from its inception in the 1980s. She worked closely with her comrade Vimla Farooqui to contribute to the joint struggles against dowry, sati and the turnaround of the Rajiv Gandhi government on the Shah Bano case. The 1980s saw the rise of fundamentalist responses on women's issues and Pimmi was always there along with her comrades fighting for peace, communal harmony and democratic rights.

She was the assistant secretary and later vice president of the NFIW. She was also a member of the secretariat of the women’s international democratic federation and spent many years in their headquarters in Berlin (GDR).

Pimmi was one of the leaders of the women's movement who came from an earlier generation who made a sincere effort to address and relate to the questions that young women in the movement sought to raise in a changing India. She will always be remembered for her indomitable spirit, the quiet grace and dignity she brought to everything she applied her skills to.