Call to carry forward her movement to empower women

Let us not stop at just remembering and praising Saraswati Gora and her works, but learn from them and carry forward the movement to empower women she had taken up, said speakers at the national conference on Saraswati's birth centenary here on Wednesday.

If it was paying tributes to one of the well-known social activists and atheists for some, it was a learning process for the young brigade, which was joining the movement, at the packed sprawling Siddhartha Auditorium.

A photo exhibition of Gora, Saraswati, and their activities over the years -- from Kakinada to Atheist Centre at Benz Centre here, the number of books and booklets published on atheism, Saraswati Gora, Periyar, non-believers, and activists -- brought the right ambience.

Social justice

In his introductory address, Dravidar Kazhagam president K. Veeramani said Periyar fought for women's empowerment. “Today, we must think from a sister or mother's angle and not from the wife's angle, as men unfortunately take it for granted that wives are slaves, which does not allow them to think in terms of empowering the fair sex,” he said. Removing discrimination in the form of sex and caste should be removed from society first, he said.

“Fear complex makes man a believer and atheism is the panacea for all social evils,” he added.

Religious fanatics might have demolished a good number of places of worship but an atheist does not do that, he explained. Women were the first teachers of mankind and hence they need to be literate and educated on social values on equality.

Well-known rationalist from London Jim Herrick remembered his meeting with Saraswati Gora and detailed her work from the time she worked for the disadvantaged Devadasis, Jogins, and for the widows.

Equal footage

An engineer by profession, Mr. Jim said victory to the human being was when women found equal footage with men in all facets of life and it was heartening to know that in Saudi Arabia also women would get right to vote. Former ANU Vice-Chancellor V. Balamohandas remembered Saraswati Gora as a Gandhian and G. Vijayam introduced and invited the guests while Demos Gora performed a classical dance to welcome the guests.

Gandhi Peace Foundation Chairperson Radha Bhatt presided over the seminar. CCMB scientist and known atheist Chandana Chakravarthi spoke on the occasion.