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In Memoriam: Ajita Kamal, 1978-2011

Thanks to Bala for the link

On January 9th 2012, we were informed of the unfortunate and untimely death of Ajita Kamal. Ajita was the founder of Nirmukta. For over a week since December 27th, 2011, we had been unable to establish contact with him. Trusted sources based in Tamil Nadu, India, when contacted, confirmed to our deep sorrow that his body was recovered close to his residence after a search was conducted. A formal investigation by the authorities is underway and further details are not publicly available. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Out of consideration for their privacy, we are refraining from pursuing additional details at this juncture.

Ajita was raised in the city of Coimbatore, India. His passion for science and reason went back to early childhood, as he once described in a forum post:

“It is always the best thing when parents encourage freethought. My earliest memories with my dad are of thumbing through stacks of books on natural history, watching David Attenborough documentaries and many hours of footage of the wonders of the Amazon jungles.”

He trained as an evolutionary biologist, and also did a stint as a professional musician in New York. To him, embracing freethought was a moment of homecoming, as he says here in his own words:

“It is a pleasant thought to know that we are not as divided it seems. It’s this common story we share that brings us together to ‘rejoice’ at the idea of existence. This feeling is not new. I had always wondered at the natural universe and have never ceased to be humbled by it. But now, I am starting to actually feel something that I thought I had lost forever. I am starting to feel like I belong.”

Ajita was an active participant in freethought throughout his years in America, forming ties with freethinkers who would become part of Nirmukta’s extended family. Employing his versatile talents, his contributions towards the cause of reason were manifold: as a prolific and edifying writer, as an insightful interviewer, as an adept podcast host, as an energetic community organizer both on-ground and online, and as a welcoming mentor to many freethinkers young and old taking their first steps towards embracing freethought.

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