Are the Indian rationalists anti-Hindu? That would be a silly question from the proclaimed believers, who cannot see reason. Rationalists from India would most likely have been born ‘Hindu’ and would have first hand experienced the practices that are condemnable in a civil society. This question should perhaps be ignored. However, I see that this is becoming a major propaganda. Of course, rationalist from India are critical about the rituals of Hinduism such as Made snana (1). Religious zealots would justify this and all such inhuman acts in the name of God and salvation. For them keeping the masses brain washed and controlling them is more important and they cannot stand being questioned. Surrender and attain salvation!
Of course, the rationalists from India were against caste based hierarchy, discrimination, untouchability and promote secularism, As Sampath says in an article in The Hindu dated 9th September 2015 ‘the battle for secularism cannot be won without first addressing the reality of caste, for it is the virus behind the pathology of Hindutva’ (2). If you are a rationalist from India, it is but natural that you question the Hindu rituals. If you are an atheist or agnostic, you question all religions. For an independent person like me, I would question anything forced on other people based on some one’s faith. I have written earlier about religion and conversions in my blog.
By some coincidence, there is an article in The Hindu today about one of the eminent neurologist, author Oliver Sacks by the former CBI Director R. K. Raghavan. He quotes a conversation between Oliver Sacks and V. S. Ramachandran, Director of the Centre for Brain Research and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego. Sacks passed away recently and Ramachandran had visited him in person 5 weeks earlier (3).
Sacks: I’ll probably never see you again Rama, have a good life.
VSR: Well, you never know!
Sacks: Well, I am an old Jewish atheist, Rama, but you are right, who knows!
The main point to learn from this conversation is that rationalists and atheists are there all over the world and they have questioned irrational acts of the believers, especially when it is also inhuman.
Over the last two years, M. M. Kalburgi in Dharwad, Govind Pansare in Kohlapur and Narendra Dabolkar in Pune, all rationalists have been murdered by religious terrorists. So far, these terrorists have not been identified. Indian police is certainly capable of getting to the truth. Indian media covered the murder of a 21 year old girl due to family feud and the police acted swiftly, though the murder took place more than 2 years ago. Kalburgi’s murder has not received due attention from the media.
Rationalists from Bangladesh Ananta Bijoy Das, Washiqur Rahman and Avijit Roy were killed by religious terrorists there. I am sure they were not anti-Hindu. In Bangladesh, if you are a rationalist, you would be anti-Muslim. Richard Dawkins, a proclaimed atheists has questioned Christian faith. Wherever you are born, if you are a rationalist and you watch atrocities committed in the name of a religion, you have no choice but to oppose.
Making rationalists from India, anti-Hindu is convenient for the religious bigots. It is easy to make the blind followers hate the rationalists. It is easier to convince the blind followers to murder the rationalists. As some one pointed out, religion can make you hate some one you don’t even know.
I am a Hindu and a rationalist. I have opposed, I oppose and I will oppose any and all inhuman activities promoted in the name of Hindu religion. Any and all caste based discrimination, untouchability and hierarchy will be condemned. Earlier this week, three dalit women were fined for entering a temple in Karnatka. Mumbai has banned the sale of meat as Jains are observing some fast. I condemn them both. Secularism allows you to follow your faith. No one has a right to dictate what others should do. Do not force your morals on others. We have a constitution and we will follow that. Indian rationalists would naturally be anti-Hindu.