In the Spotlight: The Atheist Centre, India

  • post Type / Young Humanists International
  • Date / 6 June 2006

The Atheist Centre in India focuses on imparting scientific, secular, democratic ideas through various programs and activities in order to promote humanism, atheism, secularism, and scientific temper. The Centre was founded by Gora (1902-1975) & Saraswathi Gora (b 1912) in 1940.

Under the umbrella of the Atheist Centre, there are three non-governmental organizations: Arthik Samata Mandal, Samskar and Vasavya Mahila Mandali that focus on comprehensive development of the society with major thrust on vulnerable sections such as the children, women, disabled, elderly and socially and economically marginalized communities.

The secular social work approach is being carried out through activities such as counselling, legal guidance, promoting livelihood options, strengthening habitats, encouraging education both to children and adults, rural innovations, and creating awareness on health. Its area of operation is both in urban and rural as well as flood and cyclone prone areas of Andhra Pradesh, South of India.

The Atheist Centre is working in approximately 300 villages, working with tribals, handloom weavers, women victims of torture, children living with HIV AIDS, Joginis (a remnant of Devadasi System), criminals, street children, child labourers, women with social problems, disaster victims, fisherfolk, rural artisans, agricultural labourers, small & marginalized farmers, youth & adolescents, pregnant and lactating mothers, etc.

The Centre networks with like-minded organizations including village level women groups, community based organizations, children’s clubs and youth clubs. The Atheist Centre provides direct services and it support services.

In order to promote scientific outlook, it organizes large-scale hands-on science, environment, medical & disaster management exhibitions and organizes programs to investigate the claims of the paranormal such as the witchcraft and sorcery.

Atheist Centre works for a post religious society and promotes peaceful, non-violent and constructive activities for social change, critical thinking, spirit of inquiry and Positive Atheism as a way of life. In order to break the caste and religion barriers, it promotes inter-caste and inter-religious marriages. It also encourages children to be given secular names. It organizes atheist study camps, national and international conferences on atheism & social change. It publishes journals and books on Atheism. It maintains livewire contact with like-minded national and international organizations. 

All in all, plenty of reasons to be guests at the Atheist Centre and participate in the IHEYO-Atheist Centre 2006 conference!

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