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Mrs. Saraswathi Gora passed away at 4 a.m. at Atheist Centre,
Mrs. Saraswathi Gora, a veteran freedom fighter, social revolutionary and founder of Atheist Centre,
died at 4 am on Saturday the 19th Aug. at Atheist Centre, Vijayawada. She was 94. She died of cardiac attack.
She has 9 children. She was born on Sept. 28, 1912. True to her principles, her eyes were donated to Swetcha Gora Eye Bank
and her body was cremated in an electric crematorium.
Vijayawada on the 19th August, 2006
Very few people are as active as Mrs. Saraswathi Gora at the age of 94. She is a life long fighter for the cause of atheism,
humanism and social change on Gandhian lines. She is veteran freedom fighter, a crusader against untouchability and caste system,
a champion of inter-caste and inter-religion marriages and secularism. As a humanist and social revolutionary she set an example
before others by practising what she championed. It revealed her firm commitment to social equality and human values.
Under her able guidance, hundreds of such reform marriages for the abolition of untouchability have taken place over the decades.
Her slogan is Jai Insaan, Victory to the humans. Eradication of untouchability and caste system is her life mission.
Inculcation of humanist values and social equality for women is her goal. She is striving for attainment of basic human rights
and social justice.
Mrs. Saraswathi Gora was born on September 28, 1912 at Vijayanagaram, Andhra Pradesh. . Mrs. Saraswathi was married to Gora,
at an early age of ten in 1922, as per the tradition of those days. She joined Gora in 1927 and since then they were inseparable couple.
For their atheistic views, Gora and Saraswathi Gora faced social ostracism and suffered indignities with a smile. Gora was dismissed from
the colleges twice in Kakinada and Machilipatnam for his atheistic views. But they were true to their convictions. The Gora couple was active
in widow remarriages, inter-dining and reform marriages. They championed social reform with a comprehensive outlook.
Along with Gora she started the Atheist Centre in 1940. It is the first of its kind in the world. Since its inception
it is in the forefront of social change activities with comprehensive outlook. Gora and Saraswathi Gora had no private
and property and they were completely dependent upon public sympathy and cooperation in all their endeavors.
She was imprisoned in the Quit India Movement. Her commitment to the cause of independence was strong and
she went to jail along with her two and half year old son, Niyanta, and at the same time she was pregnant.
Mrs. Gora went to jail many a time in pre and post-independence periods. She was arrested in 1953 in
Karivena Eenam Satyagraha in Kurnool District, championing the cause of land reforms.
For the eradication of untouchability, she advocated interdining. Gora and Saraswathi Gora opened many
public wells for the use of Harijans in the teeth of opposition from the upper castes. When Mahatma Gandhi
came to know about the efforts of Gora (1902-1975) and Saraswathi Gora for the abolition of untouchability
and caste system and for social equality, he invited them to Sevagram Ashram. Saraswathi Gora's eldest daughter,
Manorama and Arjun Rao's marriage was scheduled in Mahatma Gandhi's presence. After his assassination,
it was held in the Sevagram Ashram in March 1948. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and others blessed the couple.
In 1960, her eldest son Lavanam's marriage with Hemalatha took place at Sevagram Ashram. All her nine children
and her grand children married casteless. Under the auspices of Atheist Centre, for the last six decades hundreds,
of intercaste, casteless and interreligious marriages have been celebrated with a view to strengthen
the secular fabric of our nation.
When the activities of Atheist Centre grew, new organizations were also started. Vasavya Mahila Mandali,
Arthik Samata Mandal and Samskar are three major organizations of Atheist Centre. They are involved in
comprehensive rural development in hundreds of villages, giving high priority to the welfare of women,
children, differently abled and the weaker sections working for the cause of human rights.
Mrs Saraswathi Gora is the cofounder of Vasavya Mahila Mandali (Vasavya is an abbreviation which stands from
Vasthavikata, Sanghadrusti, Vyaktitvam -- Reality, social outlook and development of individual personality).
Atheist Centre has initiated medical social work programmes. In the Campus of Atheist Centre there is a hospital
to extend medical facilities. Since Gora's death on July 26, 1975, Saraswathi Gora is heading the activities of
Atheist Centre and within two decades she had expanded the activities of Atheist Centre with vision four fold
by building a good team to take up responsibilities. Coinciding with her 80th birth anniversary,
an International Conference on "Social Progress and Women" was held at Atheist Centre in 1992.
RECIPIENT OF NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL AWARDS:
Endowed with rich experience of seven decades of work for political and social change, Mrs Saraswathi Gora
received national and international recognition. "G.D. Birla International Award for Humanism 2000" was presented
to her in New Delhi by Mr. Krishna Kant, the Vice-President of India on July 21, 2001. The first "Basava National Award, 2000"
of Karanata Government was presented to her in Bangalore on July 26, 2001. The Award is instituted in the name of Basavanna,
the famous social reformer of Karnataka who fought against caste and creed and strove for social equality in 12th Century.
"Jamnalal Bajaj National Award-1999" was presented to her in Mumbai for her outstanding contribution to women welfare and
rural development. Earlier, "Janki Devi Bajaj National Award" was bestowed on her by the Indian Merchants Chamber Ladies Wing in Mumbai
in 1997. She received a number of awards including "Challagalla award", "Potti Sriramulu Telugu University Award for Promotion of Rationalism",
"Malladi Subbamma Award", "Viswadata Kasinadhuni Nageswara Rao Award" and so on for her outstanding contribution to social change.