By Sreyashi Mazumdar
Trudging on the road during the wee hours of the morning, he would have hardly pondered that the forthcoming steps would lead him to his climactic end. The billowing bike, and the bullets from the pillions’ pistol hitting him at a point blank range led to an immediate gush of blood. The spurt of blood oozed out from his almost-numb body and it turned out to be the end of road for another non conformist against staunch religious beliefs.
The snippet might exude an essence of a proper thriller movie; however, this is reality. Rationalists or proponents of subversive ideologies have often met a similar fate. Mavericks like MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar are some of them.
Each and every one of these aforementioned names met a gruesome fate for their obdurate stand against irrationality and theories that refuted the tenets of logic. On August 30, professor Kalburgi’s death reverberated the evidenced goriness every time a brazen mind has tried to give voice to ideas, loud and vociferously.
Kalburgi dabbled in topics ranging from Veerashaiva tradition to that of reasons nullifying the rationality behind idol worship. He overtly supported UR Ananthmurthy on the issue of stopping idol worship which garnered vehement criticism from several Hindu grouts. He was often given death threats; however, the threats rarely failed in tarnishing his mettle.
Toeing a similar fate, even Govind Pansare also testified a horrific end. His book ‘Shivaji Kaun Hai’ (Who is Sivaji?) was slammed by Hindu fundamentalists owing to the portrayal of Shivaji as the king of the people which was against the revered stature of the Hindu king, the title otherwise rendered to Shivaji in varied religious texts.
Further, his speeches against RSS and other Hindu outfits also nudged a many. Though his voice has been silenced, the seething rationalist ideas continue to contribute to the same school of thought.
Further, anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabolkar’s voice was stifled with four shots of bullet putting an end to the eccentric’s life. Dabolkar in his attempt at putting an end to superstition moved the state government to introduce the Anti-superstition Bill; he was dead against God-men and their feigning of bearing superpowers in order to pocket money and to draw mindless public following.
However, this isn’t a recent trend. Charvaka’s philosophy has been often challenged owing to his contentious thoughts and his ideas against the prevailing Brahmanical order in the society. According to Charvaka, the Vedas are man-made and social in nature; he indirectly challenged the divinity borne by the Vedas.
Rationality and proponents pursuing the same have been often challenged and persecuted; their vehemence and mettle have been subjected to scathing attacks or rendered to a gory apogee. Despite being in a democratic country, will rationalists continue to get trampled by bigotry? Will rationalism always find its feet weak in the world of fanaticism?