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Updated: March 24, 2014 18:00 IST

Reformist’s life to be chronicled

P. Sujatha Varma
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Hemalatha Lavanam
Special Arrangement Hemalatha Lavanam

Gurram Joshua’s daughter Hemalatha Lavanam, who fought against Jogini system, will be featured in National Biography Series of NBT

Memoirs of noted social reformer Hemalatha Lavanam will soon find place in the National Biography Series of the National Book Trust of India.

The objective of the National Biography series is to throw light on the lives of Indian women and men who have made outstanding contribution towards the development of Indian society, culture, science, economy, polity as also of modern Indian sensibility. After Durgabai Deshmukh, Ms. Lavanam is the second woman selected for the honour from Andhra Pradesh.

“The news came as a pleasant surprise. I feel very happy because Hemalatha’s life story gives a sense of self-respect to all women. This kind of recognition was long overdue,” said atheist leader and Hemalatha’s husband Lavanam.

Born in 1937 at Vinukonda in Guntur district, Ms. Lavanam was the last child of Padmabhushan, Kalaprapurna Gurram Joshua and Mariyamba. Post her travel in Chambal valley in Vinoba Bhave’s padayatra for Bhudan yagna, her perspective on life changed and she returned home to take up extensive work in the field of criminal reform, abolition of Jogini system, social equality and dispelling superstition.

The two authors selected for writing the biography –Lalita Vakulabharanam and Sundar Kompalli—are editing their work to meet the December 13 deadline for submission of the biography. “We are mainly focussing on her all-encompassing personality, her unique approach to problems in society, exclusive strategies she embraced to bring about a reform and most importantly the methods she adopted to sustain the reforms in such difficult times. As a Dalit woman, she faced stiff resistance but ironically, almost 65 % of her work force comprised those belonging to upper castes. She managed to gain acceptance in a vitiated society,” says one of the two authors Mr. Kompalli.

Even while waging pitched battle against social evils like Jogini system in backward remote villages of Nizamabad district relying heavily on the enormous experience she had gained in the criminal reforms she undertook in the coastal Andhra region with her spouse Lavanam, she never allowed the mainstream Dalit politics to influence her.

It also talks about her early life and people like her father Gurram Joshua, social reformer and her father-in-law Gora, Vinoba Bhave and her husband Lavanam, who influenced it.

“It feels good to know that Hemalatha will go pan-India once the biography is published,” says an elated Lavanam.

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