Rationalism and Humanity

Rationalism and Humanity

Mumbai, 9th August 2019

Dear Humanist leading lights and friends all around the world,

I feel honored to come to the land of the earliest Atheists and Humanists in the world. Similarly, I feel honored to participate in the program organized by Maharastra Andhasraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS). I equally feel proud to put my feet where Dr. Narendra Devolkar was stood. We do not have him here with us now, but his voice will keep inspiring for my entire life.

First of all, I would like to thank you all Humanists, rationalists, atheists, secularists, and non-believers gathered from different countries. Also, like to acknowledge the believers if anyone are here. Thank you all present here for standing firm to protecting the Indian Constitution as a whole including 42nd Amendment. Without you, the Indian constitution might have become disable already. I believe, as a Humanist, I believe the 42nd Amendment is the biggest achievement of Humanity. ‘to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform[1]‘ as fundamental duties. This shows the vision of founding fathers/mothers of Indian Constitution. I salute them for constitutionally securing the future of 1.3 billion people. History has witnessed that thousands have given their blood and tears and sweat to promote this right. Dr. Narendra Devolkar was one of them. Dr. Debholkar, MM Kulbargi, and Govind Pansare are the recent names who volunteered to die rather than compromising the future of Indians. All their ‘crime’ was to protect the Indian Constitution, their ‘crime’ was to establish the culture of questioning, and making each child live a fearless life which is not acceptable for many abusing the power by spreading hatred and fear. 

The notion of the world’s unique Constitution has been tear-apart by the current rulers. As an outsider, I can observe that dogmatisms, populism, communalism, and culture of fear has become the tool for clutching power in modern India. The wave of populism has badly hit Indian population too. Because, when we are speaking on enlightenment, there might be hundreds of mobs running after a minority and powerless for lynching in modern India as thousands of unknown Indian citizen have lost their lives in mob lynching. All their fault was choosing the beef in the menu instead of the goat meat. All their fault was to be born in the non-Hindu family. All their fault was trying to live a life of 21st-century citizen; fearless and independent. All their fault was to bring back the hope of light. The only crime of Martyr, Gauri Lankesh was that she stood as hope among millions. Her pen became the threat for dwellers of darkness. That coward carries the gun to protect themselves from the pen!  My respected Humanist leaders including Narendra Nayak are threatened by those cowards repeatedly. They might not have realized that guns and fear can no more shut the voice of voiceless but unite them. There are millions in the world who support Nayak’s voice.  I am sure that the recent deadly attacks,  mob lynching and spread of communalism have compelled Humanists, rationalists, atheists, minorities and freedom fighters to unite once again to speak loud and clear.

Unlike the past, Indian mainstream politics is equally responsible for spreading hatred communalism. This has posed a serious threat to the constitution of India itself. It has damaged the national integration, democracy, consensus and decentralization as a whole. A famous Nepali leader B.P. Koirala used to say that ‘the real threat to democracy is not from authoritarians but from the disguised politicians who collect votes based on lies.’ I think this is what happens at this point in the history of India. Despite the imagination of great leaders of India, politics has become accessible to criminals more than a rational and wise person. See the number of parliamentarians accused of a crime in most south Asian Countries. I am sure the Indian parliament is on the top. How can anyone expect a dignified and prosperous society ruled under them? Populism, nationalism, and hatred are their political agendas for acquiring votes by injecting poison in the mind of innocent people. Division in society is the victory for them, not unity. They plant fear in people’s mind, not love and brotherhood. These politicians are not concerned about 15% of Indian suffering from hunger. They do not see the horror on hunger which is taking the life of 4500 Indian children every day[1]. But they see a big threat in India if someone not chanting Jay Shree Ram. Dalits across India have been threatened, abused, beaten and killed for seemingly mundane reasons. This is not a matter of concern for them. They encourage the violence and hatred among people which led to mob-lynch Dalit for sitting crossed-legs in Tamil Nadhu, beat up for riding a motorcycle by Dalit in Madhya Pradesh and so on. Atrocities on Dalits are increasing every year in ‘modern India’.

When political parties have deep nexus with fundamentalists, the voice of freedom and rationality comes under the barrel of a gun. We have seen what is happening in Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Indian rationalist movement is facing similar symptoms now. The current government is bluntly rejecting the secularist groups but maintaining fraternalism with the group which was in favor of Sati Pratha once. Anyone speaking against Sati Pratha was massacred in the past as they are lynching Muslims, rationalist, and Dalits in the yard of modern India.  It is the same group which provoked that women are not equal to men but slaves. Educated Indian youth is forced to leave the country due to uncertainty but the illiterate, thoughtless Babas are given the biggest priority by the government. Groups such as RSS are not only expanding inside India but also in other South Asian countries whose main agenda is to seed the hatred in each community and radicalize people. Nepal was one of the most peaceful countries in the world, is in potential danger of fundamentalism in the future due to the nexus established by RSS, Shiva Sena, and other similar groups from India. Principally, I do not see much difference in between nationalist, fundamentalists and terrorists. Only the degree of violence is different not the ideology. The crisis brought by religious extremism is perilous to humanity more than any other crisis. As proof, religion has killed more people than two world wars. World wars have been ended, but religious extremism and killing of each other are yet one of the biggest challenges in bringing peace and rationality in the world.

Indian sub-continent has the history of the earliest form of atheism, rationalism and critical thinking. Movement of Charbaka/Lokayata, Jainism, Buddhism are the key philosophies which defeated the ‘Devata ka Dukan’ (shops of gods) from the continent before any other civilizations. Rationalists, Dalits, Women and other minorities at that time were also brutally killed as current radical groups are doing now. But the courageous leaders of the past continued walking towards the light of rationalism and humanity. Ultimately, they were able to spread and establish democracy all around the world. Thus, philosophy and idea never die on fear but continuously extent if it is intended to enlighten Humanity. As proof, the non-believers are the fastest-growing population in the earth in comparison to any religion. We do not have the mission to proselytize as religious missions do, but people are able to understand the prejudice on the bible, Gita, Kuran and so on. Their own text and behavior are actually making millions realize the prejudice against humanity. Thanks to those unrealistic, outdated, idiotic texts, and also thanks to ludicrous Babas. We are neither forcing nor proselytizing anyone to leave their religion. But, the whole world is realizing the grand design of the fearful god. Ambedkar, a member of the Dalit community and the father of Indian Constitution rejected the Hinduism after realizing the same grand-design of ever forcing marginalized at the extremity. He gave a wake-up call to millions of Dalits worldwide. Sabitri Bhai Phule was an icon for millions of women in the world.

Similarly: Premanand, Narayana Guru, Ayyan kali, Pariyar Ramasami, Prem Chand, Justice Tarkunde, Gora, Gurajads Apparao, Mani Ammai,  Ravipudi Venkatadri, PM Bhargava, Indumati Pathik, Amartya Sen, Shabana Azmi, Katti Padma Rao, Markenday Katju, Medha Pathakar, AB Shah, Hosur N., Ramswroop Verma, Arundathi Roy,Rrahul Sanskrityan, Abraham Kovoor, Ajit kesha Kambali, Makkahali Goshala,  Jaya prithivi singh, Savitraibhai phule, Bhagat Singh, Jabahar Lal Neharu are also few names we should respect in this occation for opening the path of Humanity and rationality.

The world knows India as the land of diversity and heritage.  It is also known as the brain of modern science. Indians are the greatest contributors to science and technology in the world.  But, as there is darkness underneath the lamp, Indian politicians are not utilizing their brain rather a bunch of uneducated mysterious characters is defining the science and philosophy in mainstream Indian media. India broadcasting media has become the biggest threat to science and humanity. It has become the tool to brainwash Indians. Superstition, dogmatism, lies, and hatred are disseminated through the media. Babas are the owner of the media to sell their products. They sell hatred as the main product along with some physical products. For them, Dharma lies in the Gau Mutra (cow urine) not in treating a human being as an object. They believe Punya comes by mob lynching in the name of cow urine, and by lynching those not chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Humanity, respect, and diversity is the biggest enemy for them.  Their understanding of the society is that the victims are the reason for the crime, not the perpetrators. They believe that rape is caused by the girls by wearing jeans pant, Untouchables is the result of sin in the past life. They have not only captured media but also business and social institutions. They are the biggest donors of political parties. They are equally proselytizing our society eradicating the indigenous knowledge and culture. This has become the biggest threat to multiculturalism, rationality, and humanity. Those Babas are not only blindfolding us but also proselytizing our indigenous culture more than Christian missions have done. 

I am speaking here on behalf of Humanists International (it was called International Humanist and Ethical Union, IHEU till 2018)  which is ‘the global representative body of the humanist movement, uniting a diversity of non-religious organizations and individuals. Humanists International wants everyone to live a life of dignity in a world where universal human rights are respected and protected, and where states uphold secularism. Humanists international works to build support and represent the global humanist movement, defending human rights, particularly those of non-religious people, and promoting humanist values worldwide.[2]’ We also promote someone’s freedom to believe in religion. We would like to welcome more like-minded groups and individuals to be associated with us. I am sure our director Bob Churchill who is present here will explain more about what we are doing. As you are aware Indian Humanist leader MN Roy is one of the founders of International Humanist and Ethical Union in 1952. Thus, Indians played an equal role to form the global umbrella of Humanists. We all should continue that legacy and ownership of the world’s Humanist movement.

We have our distinct cultures, but we unite under the same principle of global citizenship, multiculturalism, freedom, rationalism, humanity, and science. Without our common voice, the atrocity in the world will never end.  We are not only raising the voice to protect non-believers but everyone in the world regardless of their faith, color, sex, and caste. I believe there is only one Mantra of bringing prosperity, happiness, and peace in every land of the world that reason should lead the course of humanity, not ignorance. Let us work together to make Human civilization more civilized than ever.

In conclusion, I would argue all fellow Humanists in India to be united. Humanism is ever-evolving philosophy. So, the younger generation has understood more than our ancestors. Let us bring the idea of youth to strengthen our civilization. Extremists use the young mind to destruct. In opposition, we should utilize the young mind for creativity and building the bridge. I see less and less young people interested to lead campaigns throughout the world. We need to create space for youth. Rationalism and Humanity should be part of life for everyone.

Let us have faith in humanity and human consciousness.

Thank you very much.

Speech by Uttam Niraula, Board Member, Humanists International, UK on the occasion of the International Conference organized by MANS on

[1] https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/starvation-deaths-in-india-global-hunder-index-unicef-poverty-national-health-mission-5276194/

[1] Constitution of India, Article 51A (h).

[2] https://humanists.international/about/

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