– By Dr. Munish Raizada
In my twenties, I got attracted towards Rationalism. Armed with a medical degree and seeing the prevalence of superstitions in our society, the young doctor in me asked why there was such a lack of scientific temper in our Indian society.
I came across rationalist Basva Premanand – founder of Indian CSICOP- who had been tirelessly working to expose the ‘miracles’ done by Hindu fake babas and gurus. His famous act was waving a hand and producing ash and then would explain to the crowd how babas fake it. Mr. Premamnad is no more, but I admire what he did to educate the public about scientific temperament. In 1999 when Premanand was on a visit to North India, I personally invited him to Hansi where we had a public show organized for him. He delighted the crowd with his witty acts of eating fire, producing ‘sacred ash’ by waving his hand and ‘piercing’ his tongue with a trident.
I also got associated with Haryana Gyan Vigyan Manch (HGVM) which is doing an excellent job to create a scientific temperament in the society. I read a few books by Abraham T Kovoor (1898 -1978) -a well-known rationalist in Indian sub continent who was born in Kerala and later migrated to Sri Lanka. Kovoor was a Botanist by profession and took to the cause of creating scientific temperament in his life time with a missionary zeal. I read with interest the work of atheists like Goparaju Ramachandra Rao (famously known as Gora), founder of Atheist Circle. I remember having organized a seminar on Abraham Kovoor in Sun Flag Hospital in Faridabad where I was working as a resident doctor that time (around 1997).
As I delved more into the circle of rationalists, I came across some other prominent personalities like Narendra Nayak and Sanal Edamaruku. Narendra Dhabolkar of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti was assassinated in 2013 by some unidentified fanatics.
Given my medical education with an in-depth understanding of molecular biology, and genetics, rationalism was a perfect match for me. However, what I noted gradually was that our Indian rationalists had a particular appetite for criticizing everything Hindu, but would not utter a single word against Islam and Christianity. In a country where the large majority is Hindu, naturally, the bulk of irrational or superstitious practices would emanate from Hindu society and it was absolutely justified to educate the public about the fakery. But it became clear that our Indian rationalists and their mission did not want to touch the fakery that Christian preachers would undertake in public meetings. They had a selective affinity to denounce Hinduism. Sanal Edamaruku is surely an exception in this regard. But then he has been chased out of India by Christian fanatics. He is currently in an exile in Finland.
Obviously, I left the organized Rationalist movement soon after, even though at heart I am still a rationalist. Today, I come to know that Gauri Lankesh was a rationalist. That explains it all. In India, Rationalists = Left Loonies.
The Bangalore -based Gauri Lankesh who was killed in daylight was a rationalist. As the media reports are coming out, it seems that she was a ‘Comrade’. And she was an open critic of Hindutva.
This is the single most reason why organized rationalism movement has failed to expand in India. The Communists ( famously called Lal Langoors) have infiltrated it. Needless to say, the idea of rational thinking and scientific temper is not the trade mark of this fading tribe.
The media reports also quoted her brother Indrajit saying that Gauri Lankesh did not believe in any religion and she was a rationalist. He is quoted as saying that they would not go against her ideologies during her funeral.
And her body was lowered into a grave. This ‘grave’ word surprised me. However, some one messaged me saying Lingayats are buried.
No further comment!