VIJAYAWADA: Social activist Hemalatha Lavanam, daughter of revolutionary Telugu poet Gurram Joshua, died here on Wednesday. She was 75 and is survived by husband Lavanam, a social activist and an atheist.
She suffered from ovarian cancer. Though the ailment was diagnosed in September last, she continued her social work among the Joginis of Nizamabad district through her organisation Samskar. She worked to reform and rehabilitate the Joginis with a remarkable commitment. Her work made the then N.T. Rama Rao Government enact a legislation in 1988 to eradicate the Jogini system.
Hemalatha is also known for her work among the de-notified tribes of Stuartpuram in Guntur districts and a few other settlements in the State, where she doggedly pursued her goal of weaning away younger generation of the tribes from robberies. She, along with her husband, also worked to take up relief and rehabilitation in the wake of the cyclone that wreaked havoc in Diviseema area in Krishna district in the 70s. Hemalatha had also set up a foundation in her father’s name, which every year confers an award on an outstanding poet. She was last year awarded an honorary doctorate by the Potti Sriramulu Telugu University. The last rites would be performed on Thursday.
The Jana Chaitanya Vedika condoled the death of Hemalata Lavanam. Members of the SC, ST Officers’ Forum for Justice termed her death as a deep void in the fields of literature and community welfare.