Murder of rationalism

Murder of rationalism

A recent newspaper report shocked me; Narendra Dabholkar, well known Indian Rationalist, was murdered in Pune on August 20 by some unidentified...

A recent newspaper report shocked me; Narendra Dabholkar, well known Indian Rationalist, was murdered in Pune on August 20 by some unidentified miscreants. Though the murderers are said to be unidentified, the needle of suspicion points towards Hindu fundamentalist elements. In the view of murderers, the only crime committed by Dhabolkar is: he fought against practices like black magic, sorcery and other obscurantist superstitions.

He wanted the Maharashtra government to bring a legislation banning all types of superstitions and fake divine tricks like creating gold rings, wristwatches, sacred ash, etc out of the air. The government of Maharashtra was considering his demands. Angered by this development, the murderers made Dabholkar their target.

India is a strange country. We have highly advanced and modern scientific institutions like atomic energy plants, Indian Institute of Technology, All India Institute of Medical sciences, etc.,. Many great scientists like Copernicus, Galileo, Isaac Newton, and Einstein proved that for every effect, there is a cause. That cause was proved beyond any doubt. For example, the reason for solar eclipse was explained by scientists. Not only scientists, great rationalist philosophers like Bertrand Russell, Jean Paul Sartre, Stephen Hawking, great physicist explained that there is nothing like a miracle.

In India, there were great rationalists from the days of Charaka. In recent days, in our State, a great rationalist like GORA fought relentlessly against all types of superstitions. Even then, a majority of people in India still believe in superstitions, fake god men, miracles, black magic, sorcery etc. We have many fake doctors and miracle makers. Time and again our media reports that so and so Baba indulged in sexual activities, that so and so Baba amassed crores by deceiving his disciples, etc. But our gullible people never learn from their experiences.
Time and again, we hear the news that in so and so village, two or three people were burnt alive by villagers suspecting that the victims were indulging in black magic and were responsible for the deaths of many villagers. It was proved so many times by the rationalists that there is nothing like black magic, sorcery that nobody can send an evil force like a ghost or a devil to kill a person. Science has also proved that there are no ghosts. God and Devil both are the creation of man. Good is the manifestation of God and Evil of Devil.
When men and women lived in forests like hunters, they could not understand natural phenomena like eclipses, thunderbolts, earthquakes, epidemic diseases, devastating floods and many other natural calamities. Superstitions were born out of the ignorance of men to understand these natural phenomena. But with the advent of modern age i.e., from 15th century, one great scientist after another started explaining these natural phenomena. When Charles Darwin put forward his theory of Evolution, people were stunned. Darwin proved that the creation of species on our planet earth was not the creation of God, but the result of millions of years of evolution. This theory sounded the death knell to superstitions. Other great scientists were successful in explaining hitherto unexplained mysteries of eclipses, floods, earthquakes, etc. Even then, crores of our country men fail to understand the reason.
Reason always takes the backseat in our country. If an illiterate person believes in superstitions, we can excuse him because he has no scientific temperament. But even highly educated people who have studied science believe in superstitions.
Dabholkar was a great intellectual. He was born on November 1st, 1945 at Satara, in Maharashtra. He took his MBBS degree from Miraj Medical College in Maharashtra. He practiced as a doctor for 12 years. Afterwards he left the medical profession and concentrated on social activism from 1983, and was the founder-President of Maharashtra Andhashradha Nirmoolan Samiti, an organisation set up to eradicate superstition. He served society in many ways; worked for the welfare of blind people; fought for the cause of Dalits. In many villages of Maharashtra, he helped Dalits get water from the same wells from where upper cast people get their drinking water.
Dr Dabholkar was pressing the government of Maharashtra to bring legislature banning all types of superstitions. When his efforts were being fulfilled, he was murdered by evil forces in our country. Many genuine intellectuals and rationalists described that it was the ‘Murder Most Foul’. As The Hans India said in its editorial (August.22), “The murder of anti-superstition crusader Narendra Dhabolkar in Pune on Thursday is apt to shock the conscience of the nation.
After having campaigned for over two decades cultivating a scientific temper among the people, discarding pre-historic superstitions, he had almost succeeded in persuading the Maharashtra government to introduce anti-superstition and black magic Bill. But all of a sudden, he was shot dead by two motor cyclists while he was taking a morning walk. The killing of Dabholkar is not merely the killing of a person but of a rationalist ideology which is more necessary for the country now than ever before; and since the practitioners of black magic hail from every community, the police should cast their net wide and also ensure that their sieve does not have a wide mesh through which the killers may slip”.
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