Asha Kowtal

General Secretary, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights
Nationality: Indian
Living in: New Delhi, India
Fields of work: human rights, anti-caste feminism, leadership

“For activists from marginalised communities, it is powerful to be propelled by the rage we feel against injustice and inequalities. But we have to hold on to kindness as a quality for ourselves and our people, even as we learn from mistakes. I believe that politics without compassion is not ideal for social change.”
— Asha Kowtal

Asha Kowtal is an activist and development professional with over 15 years of broad and significant experience in Indian and global human rights work. She has been organising Dalit women’s movements in India for the past decade.

She is currently General Secretary of the All India Dalit Women’s Forum, which is part of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) in India. The forum works to promote and protect the rights of women subjected to caste and gender discrimination.    

Asha has worked in several capacities with private and public agencies, supporting a range of initiatives for accessing justice for vulnerable communities. Her focuses have included the development of structure, resources, teams, programme strategy and publications.

She has expertise in strategising for campaigns and advocacy, stakeholder management for large organisations, capacity building, policy analysis, research and documentation.

Twitter: @ashakowtal

“What gives me hope? Seeing young Dalit women from small towns and villages take up leadership, and envision a different future for themselves and their communities.”
— Asha Kowtal