- WRITTEN AND COMPILED : NIETZSCHE
Human mind has not remained static, starting from the ‘Day one’ of human existence on the earth. The ‘Day one’ may be perceived differently by people according to their knowledge background, reasoning outlook they possess or the blind faith on mythological foundation. Mythical base says the existence of humans on the earth, ‘all of a sudden’ as the creation of omnipotent god.
The reasoning persons are of the belief that ‘all of a sudden’ is not possible on the earth, but it happened as a process of evolution of primitive living things from de novo position to the present level of human beings, spanned over so many lakhs of millenniums. With regard to the start of human existence on the earth itself, there exists difference of opinions, beliefs and ideas. Despite all these different categories of thoughts, human mind started to transform itself from the existed level by questioning the surroundings within the limitations of possible observations and understandings and repeated expressions in the form of criticism both positive and negative. With these varied thinking processes and delivering the outcome with divergence, the humans have progressed to the current level of civilization coupled with comfortable living style.
Again the levels of civilization are not uniform among the human habitats, prevailing in various parts of the world. This varied civilizations are due to the views and perceptions possessed by humans and how they have been viewed and perceived at by others in the particular part. What is familiar and in practice in one terrain may be quite new and is not even thought of by the people in other parts. Even the new one is acceptable, how far could that be practised? This is a hurdle for the civil advancement. This is a phenomenon not only in between the different countries but an intra-feature within the same country and the same society. The perception of anyone either individually and collectively as group in any form makes a sense of superiority and dominance over the perception and practice of the others. If one looks back at the history of humankind, nothing remained permanent and static perception. Changes have been continuing as a civilization process. Open mindedness on the part of every person will enable the ongoing process progressively. Only thing that has to be reckoned is – whether the changes are good or bad, whether they make the humankind move forward or in reverse direction. Such reckoning process must take place through reasoning and not through any violent mode that leads to fatal end of humans. Opposition to the alternative ideas must be expressed through peaceful means – through debate and discussions, exposing the positive and negative features, weighing the net gain for the humankind out of it. Brutal attack on the alternative ideas and idealists will take back human society to barbaric stone age which lasted on mere impulses without any reasoning. Tolerant to alternative thoughts and expressions do not mean, accepting them. With the same vehemence both in content and delivery, views may be conveyed without violence. Apprehension about one’s deeds in respect of its worthiness and suitability is the basis of intolerant attitude and actions. Yielding to the views of others, if desired and apt is in no way wrong. Such yielding to positive features and forbearing the consequences for the overall betterments of humans, is the ignition for the progress of human civilization. Yielding to the desired alternative thoughts and actions is not at all a defeat or setback for the yielders. In fact such yielders are the architects of the furtherance of human civilization.
For the strengthening and dissemination of ideas, installing it over institutional frame work is a neccesity. For the organised and social human living, the main institutional framework that facilitates is considered as religions. Today, such religious institutions have transformed themselves into instruments creating disharmony among humans. Even within the same religion due to its composition as well as culmination of its ideals, generating intolerance destroys harmony in the society. Intolerance both inter religious and intra religious has to be condemned and eliminated. Intolerance towards non religious articulation and activities is gaining momentum nowadays throughout the world. Violent mode of intolerance resulting in the death of humans is witnessed passively by the peace loving masses. This sort of passiveness emboldens the intolerant violence practitioner. He takes it as an acceptance for their audacious deeds enabling him to continue such deeds that are dreadful for mankind. Recently the intolerance towards the non believers of god and religion got increased and manifested through violent killing of atheists and anti superstition activists – when all of them have discharged their social responsibilities by keeping themselves away from the brim of religions.
Intolerance towards alternative thought process is a continuing phenomenon and its target towards free-thinkers and anti superstition activists are on the increase both in the form of frequency and intensity.
In the year 2015 itself many free-thinkers have been killed by the religious fundamentalists in India and Bangladesh. The Constitution of both the Countries say that they are secular. All the free-thinkers and anti superstition activists have been expressing their ideas and views on humanist way of living through their blogs and propaganda deeds.
Govindarao Pansare, 82 year old rationalist and anti superstition propagandist based at Kolhapur in Mahrashtra State is a result oriented activist. He was shot along with his wife, by motorbike-borne assailants while they were on a morning walk in Kolhapur on 16th February 2015. After battling for life at hospitals at Kolhapur and Mumbai, the veteran rationalist Govindarao Pansare died on 20th February. The fatal episode and the modus operandi was similar to the murder of Narendra Dabholkar, anti superstition propagandist in August 2013 at Pune, with whom Pansare was close in the rationalist cause.
The statement uttered by Govindarao Pansare when Narendra Dabholkar was gunned down has proved relevant. “Today it is Dr. Dabholkar’s turn, tomorrow, we cannot say who it will be. When they are not able to defeat you in logical and rationale, they use bullets.”
• Avijit Roy, an avowed atheist and apostle of free speech was an engineer of Bangladeshi origin based in the United States, visited his country to release his book in the book fair during the celebration of the Mother Tongue Day. He was among the group of bloggers who regularly criticized religious extremism, intolerance, and fanaticism, particularly in his own country, Bangladesh, notwithstanding the threats to their life from the radicals. On February 26, as Avijit Roy and his wife were returning from the book fair, they were attacked with machete which led to Avijit’s death.
Avijit Roy’s blog Mukto – Mona (Free-thinker) was conceived as an international platform for free-thinkers, rationalists and humanists. The aim of the blog was to promote scientific and rational views against fatalism, idealism and superstition. The blog says that they (free-thinkers) are not against any religion, but they are the staunchest critics of the religious doctrine that briefs superstition, cruelty and falsehood. Can any peace loving person or social harmony facilitator find fault in the approach and the knowledge disseminating activities of these bloggers?
• In March another blogger Washiqur Rahman was hacked to death in Dhaka in public yet again, but nobody dared to protect him. The killers were walking away very comfortably without any hurdle.
• On May 12, Ananda Bijoy Das 32 years old, an atheist who worked in a bank was murdered on his way to work in the city of Sylhet in northern Bangladesh. Das wrote blog for free-thinkers, which carries posts on subjects such as secular humanism, fundamentalism and religious hegemony. Das was also editor of ‘Jukti’ a science magazine meaning ‘Reason’. He wrote a book about Charles Darwin, the founder of evolution theory.
Many other bloggers have also died in suspicious circumstances. Imran Sarker of the Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh said, “It’s one after another . It is the same scenario again and again. It is very troubling” The inherent anachronism of religion has pushed the youth towards reason, because they have questions that religion cannot answer. The pro-reason, pro-science atheists are now more vocal, because religion has led to bloodshed. Only a tiny minority of religious people are fundamentalists. The vast majority believe in god and the book but gloss over the content. They are content, being believers and have no time for hate. They do not raise swords to defend their gods because an omnipotent god should logically be capable of defending himself. The tiny minority of self-appointed ‘defenders of the faith’ would not be a problem, had they not carried out such barbaric murders. They are known by different names in different religions and countries. The silent majority is, well silent in the face of the wrath of God’s killing machines. Religion has machetes. No match. The pen is mightier than sword. But the sword draws blood; not ink.
(With due acknowledgement to the writers – Kamalesh Singh, India Today Digital and Nirupam Hazra, MAINSTREAM)
HOUNDING OUT ATHEISTS, SECULARISTS IN BAD FAITH – A REPORT
The world is not a friendly place for atheists and secularists. Such people are increasingly being portrayed as a threat to society or even as terrorists, the ‘Freedom of Thought Report’ -published annually on International Human Rights Day – has said. Apostates or freethinkers, whose rights are recognised in UN treaties, invite capital punishment for apostasy or religious blasphemy in 13 countries, all of them Muslim. The study, by the International Humanist and Ethical Union, pointed to “hate campaigns” by public figures against them in nations like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Egypt. Interestingly, even in a country like Russia, where communist ideology has been replaced by Orthodox Christianity that held sway before the 1917 revolution, any public expression of atheist views can be equated with blasphemy and criminalised. Some Western countries, too, are witness to governments strengthening the privileged position of religion in society. In Britain, for instance, atheism and humanism have been dropped from religious studies in state schools. The labelling of atheists or nonbelievers as akin to terrorists is ironic to say the least, given that the biggest terror threats today are posed by armed groups inspired by religious fundamentalism. The truth is that the world will continue to remain divided on the lines of theists, atheists, agnostics, zealots, moderates and the like. Considering there has been a reported global decline in religious belief, the number of sceptics is likely to grow with further scientific advances. Penal measures against atheists, borne out of an upsurge in revivalism, are reprehensible and push mankind backwards to the ancient times when the pioneering philosopher Socrates was tried and executed for impiety. Scepticism and scientific temper should be encouraged, while reining in fanaticism and bigotry, lest the growing religious extremism lead to another Crusade.
Courtesy : The New Indian Express
DEBATE ON SECULAR STATE AT THE APEX JUDICIARY OF PAKISTAN!
Can Islamic Republic of Pakistan be a secular state? The question was raised by Pakistan’s Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk himself while hearing petitions challenging the procedure for appointment of superior court judges under the 18th Amendment and establishment of military courts under the 21st Amendment to try terrorists. A17-judge full court is hearing the case. Mulk wondered if Article 2 of the Constitution stating Islam as state religion can be replaced with secularism and asked could it be done by the present parliament or a Constituent Assembly would be needed, Dawn newspaper reported. “Can a political party with unequivocal support in its manifesto to secularism, if given vast majority by the people, still be entitled to change the Constitution,” asked Justice Main Saqib Nisar. The debate on secularism started when Justice Asif Saeed Khosa observed that Pakistan had been created in 1947 in the name of Islam and it was declared that Islam would be the state religion. Hamid Khan argued that only a Constituent Assembly could make changes in the Constitution. He said there was a consistent consensus in Pakistan for Islam as state religion.
- Press Trust of India