Statutory warning:The below post has been written from an entirely rationalist point of view.So,read at your own risk.We will not be responsible if anybody’s religious sentiments get offended.
On 20th August 2013 in Pune,India at 7:20 AM , a man aged 67 was shot dead near Omkareshwar temple.His name was Narendra Dabholkar,an Indian rationalist and social activist.
But what was his crime?His crime was the most henious one in the world of fundamentalists.He ‘THOUGHT’ and inspired others to ‘THINK’.
He founded Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS and devoted his life to the cause of eradication of superstition from Indian Culture.He had been trying to persuade the governement of Maharashtra since 2010 to pass the Anti-Superstition Bill that would put and end to the fraudulent business of Black Magic practitioners.For this he invited opposition and criticism from all Hindu Extremists organisations.This bill was strongly opposed by political parties like Bhartiya Janta Party and Shiv Sena for the reason that it will pose a threat to ‘Hindutva’. Since then he and his family had been getting constant death threats from the right wing groups.But even these threats could not deter the brave man from fighting for a greater cause.He continued to fight until the the day he was finally assassinated.
I am shocked and dejected as it was not merely the murder of a rationalist but it was an attempt to murder rationality.That man was never against any god or religion.Even his bill did not contain any word related God or religion.He just wanted people to think rationally and stop following superstitious practices.
Then why did the fundamentalists find it as a jeopardy to their religion?Do they want to convey that superstition and blind faith forms an integral part of their religion?
Leave fundamentalist,let’s talk about common people.I am not sure whether it is only my observation but I have seen a very strong correlation between religion and superstition.The cultures that are strongly religious are mostly strongly superstitious too.Though many people will me despise me for saying this but this is what I sincerely feel.
Religious people will all jump in to defend religion saying that religion is divine and sacred(for me sacred means something that can’t be questioned because it can’t and shouldn’t be questioned).They say ‘God’ has nothing to do with superstitions and that superstitions are man-made.But these people will believe in the healing power of holy shrines and holy water.They will go on fasting for days to prevent any danger if any astrologer tells them there is a chance of misfortune in the near future.They will do philanthropy to add on to their ‘punya’ score which they can redeem anytime in the future by bartering with their Almighty.Many of my educated friends are vegans because they believe eating non-veg will make them a sinner and they will be punished by ‘God’ in some form(by their logic nearly 80 % of the world population is a sinner).Menstruating women will refrain from entering the temples(I used to be among them until I became an atheist) despite seeing no logic in that.
Many Hindus prefer to die in the holy city of Varanasi so that they can attain freedom from the cycle of re-birth.Every year ‘shraddh’ is conducted to bring peace to the soul of the deceased ones( else they might return to harass their own kins) so that they safely reach another dimension of consciousness(I never understood what do they exactly mean by that).
Their faith will not be shaken even when ‘Mahamrintyunjay Jaap’ fails terminally ill patients.In this age of science and technology,I feel really embarrassed to witness ‘yagyas’ being conducted to cause rain.
If you believe in a supernatural and transcendental God that can perform impossible miracles then why is not Tantra logical?Why are black magic practices irrational?Exorcism is also logical if you believe in life-after-death.
I think we really need to rethink about our religiosity.
Narendra Dabholkar was not killed by fundamentalists but by the bigotry and irrationality that are embedded in the psyche of most of us.