Social worker Hemalata Lavanam passes away

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vijayawada, Mar 19 (UNI) Well known social worker, writer and poet Hemalata Lavanam, who led a life-long crusade against untouchability and caste system, passed away here this evening.

She was 75. She is survived by her husband.

Hemalata, a social reformer fought against superstitions and beliefs like witchcraft and sorcery. She set up the ''Joshua foundation'' to honour outstanding poets in various languages. She raised donations from the public to honour poets every year.

Daughter of eminent Telugu poet and Padma Vibhushan Joshua, Hemalata was born in Vinukonda in Guntur district in 1932. She rebelled against caste system and social inequalities. Along with her husband Lavanam, she travelled extensively in the country and abroad, advocating her ideals.

Hemalata was honoured by the Andhra Pradesh government with Atma ''Gaurava Puraskaram'' and ''Ugadi Puraskaram'' in 1986. The Potti Sriramulu Telugu University honoured her with a Doctorate in 2007. She was also a member of the Senates of Andhra and Nagarjuna Universities.

She published her autobiography depicting her saga of struggle for propagating atheism, humanism and social change. She also received 'Atheist Achievement Award' from USA, 'Red and White Bravery award in 2003, and literary award from Telugu University.

Her novel ''Jivana Prabhatam'' had received the Telugu University award and 'Desasnehi' award from the Karnataka government.

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