GUWAHATI, April 29 - Veteran Gandhian, prominent freedom fighter and Sarvodaya movement leader Hema Bharali passed away at her Kasturba Nagar residence at Ulubari here at 3:20 pm today. She had completed 101 years on February 19, 2020. She was suffering from old-age ailments.
Born on February 19, 1919 at Dhakuakhana in Lakhimpur district, Hema Bharali led an exemplary life offering selfless service to the poor and the downtrodden.
A prominent social activist and a vocal supporter of women empowerment, she was conferred the Padma Shri award in 2005. She was also the recipient of the Assam government�s Jatiya Swahid Kanaklata Barua Award in 2003.
She also won the National Communal Harmony Award in 2006 apart from numerous other awards and recognitions for her valuable contributions to the country.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, while condoling the death of the eminent Gandhian, gave instructions for according State honour to the mortal remains of the veteran activist. Since Bharali had pledged her body to the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital, the same was received by the GMCH authorities after the due State honour.
Hema Bharali got actively involved in social work from a very early age and later joined India�s struggle for independence. She actively took part in the relief operations after the Great Assam Earthquake of 1950 and also after the Sino-Indian War of 1962.
After coming in contact with prominent Gandhian and social activist Amalprava Das and inspired by the ideology of Acharya Vinoba Bhave, she led several padayatra (foot-march) programmes in support of voluntary land donation in several parts of Assam. As part of the Akhil Bharat Mahila Lok Yatra, she took part in a number of similar marches across the country and even in parts of Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Associated with the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust, she worked relentlessly to uplift the life of women and marginalised sections of society.
Governor Jagdish Mukhi has condoled the death of Hema Bharali. In a condolence message, Mukhi said with her death, the State lost a social worker and a Gandhian thinker.
The North East Society for the Promotion of Youth and Masses also mourned the demise of Bharali. She was one of the moving forces of the NESPYM.