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Nirmukta is an organization in India founded in 2008 that promotes scientific thinking, rational thinking and secular humanism.[1][2][3] Nirmukta is a Sanskrit word that roughly translates to "liberated."

History and work[edit]

Nirmukta was founded in 2008 by evolutionary biologist Ajita Kamal.[4] It was originally a website and by 2012 it had become an organization with regional groups in 8 major Indian cities.[5][6][7][8][9][10] The online forum Indian Atheists, which has more than 27,000 followers on Facebook, started as an activist arm of Nirmukta.[11] Because of recent attack on atheists in India,[12] the organization adopts strict checks before allowing new members.

Nirmukta regularly conducts workshops in collaboration with other rationalist organizations to promote scientific temper and create awareness about pseudosciences.[2][13][14] Nirmukta has an annual event called thinkfest that takes place in January, with past speakers including Prof. Dayanandan, Narendra Nayak, Babu Gogineni (2011), Dr.Thangaraj, S.Anand (2013), Dr.T.V.Venkateswaran (2014), Namit Arora, Kalpana Karunakaran (2015).[15] The organization also has a blog on the Freethought Blogs network, which was co-founded by PZ Myers.

In May 2011, Nirmukta hosted a rationalist challenge to Indian astrologers with Narendra Nayak to predict the 2011 election.[16] Nayak is a regular contributor to the website.[17] Among the other regular contributors are Srinivas Kakkilaya and Dr. Vinod Kumar Wadhawan, Raja Ramanna fellow at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. In October 2011, Nirmukta organized an Eye donation campaign and has been running an organ donation drive on its website.[18][19] It organized India's first "Hug an Atheist Day" event in India on 7 June 2013.[20][21][22] It has also been participating in Pride marches in those cities.[23][24][25]

When Nirmukta's founder Ajita Kamal died in January 2012, PZ Myers wrote that Kamal was "A leading promoter of science and freethought in India."[26]


The organization supports social justice movements like feminism, LGBT rights, and rights of people with disabilities and has a zero-tolerance policy against harassment.[27] They have also taken a strong stand against casteism in India.[28]


  1. joanna, sugden (Jun 12, 2012). "What do Indian Atheists think". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "In celebration of scientific temper". The Hindu. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  3. "Trending: #Trolls". The Hindu. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  4. "Free thinking to trounce patriarchy". The New Indian Express. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  5. Neha Bhayana (21 May 2011). "Godless and Loving it". Times Crest. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  6. Ankur Pandey (9 March 2009). "Join the rationalists online or over chai". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  7. "Indian atheists seek recognition in the land of a million gods". The Times of India. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  8. "Atheism in the land of a thousand gods". GlobalPost. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  9. "Church of the non-believer". DNA India. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  10. Nirmukta Regional Groups. Nirmukta, seen on 5 February 2015
  11. Poulomi Banerjee, No moral policing, no communal violence, please: We are Indians. Hindustan Times, 4 January 2015
  12. See the Wikipedia article on Irreligion in India § Persecution and attacks.
  13. "Rationalists strike back, all set to nail the facade of 'religious magic'". DNA India. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  14. "Rationalist does 'miracles'". Deccan Herald. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  15. [1]
  16. "Predict election results, win Rs. 10 lakh". The Hindu. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  17. Johannes Quack (22 November 2011). Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India. Oxford University Press. p. 339. ISBN 978-0-19-981260-8. 
  18. "Eye Donation Camp". 
  19. "Organ Donation Drive". 
  20. "Think free and hug an atheist this Friday". DNA India. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  21. Sara, Nelson (6 June 2013). "Hug An Atheist Day 2013". huffingtonpost. 
  22. Janane, Venkatraman (7 June 2013). "Give the atheist closest to you a hug". newindianexpress. 
  23. "Bangalore Pride Walk 2013". 
  24. "Somewhere over the rainbows(Mumbai pride march)". 
  25. "Chennai pride march 2014". 
  26. Ajita Kamal has died, Pharyngula, 9 January 2012
  27. "Nirmukta anti harassment policy". Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  28. Neha, Bhayana (Mar 15, 2015). "Not scared of god but man". times of India. Retrieved 7 May 2015.