Goparaju Ramachandra Rao

A largely forgotten figure of the national movement, Goparaju Ramachandra Rao or Gora is the subject of a new book by Mark Lindley. Published by Popular Prakashan, Mumbai, The Life and Times of Gora has a foreword by Mridula Mukherjee, Director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, and colleague at JNU.

Goparaju Rao took the name Gora when he renounced religion and founded the Atheist Centre in 1940 in Andhra Pradesh... The Centre, which is still very active, is a social change organization striving for eradication of superstitions, inculcating rational, scientific and secular outlook for spreading positive atheism and humanism as a way of life (life-stance).

The Life and Times of Gora seeks to comprehend the reformer vis-à-vis his time and his relationship with Mahatma Gandhi. Gora was born in a Brahmin family in 1902 and was excommunicated from Brahmin society for renouncing religion. Gandhji came in contact with Gora late in his life, during 1944-45... and was partly responsible for the change in his views on Ambedkar’s beliefs on caste system. While Ambedkar was for uprooting the caste system, Gandhiji’s approach was milder; he wanted the negative aspects of caste system like untouchability to go while retaining its framework.

Gandhi formed the subject of an earlier book by Lindley and Gora's son, Lavanam Gora, Gandhi: As We Have Known Him. Many people have written about Mahatma Gandhi and religions, and many have published their personal reminiscences of him. A distinctive feature of this book however, is that the chapters on Gandhi and the several religions which he drew upon are complemented by a chapter describing his relationship-which changed more than once during his long life-to various forms of religious nonbelief.

 The Life and Times of Gora is in paperback, Rs 180. ISBN: 9788179914571

Gandhi: As we have known him is in hardcover, Rs 690. ISBN: 9788121208635

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