EVOLUTION OF A RATIONALIST AN INTERVIEW WITH ER.DR.V.SUNDARRAJULU

Dr. Sundararajulu, a staunch rationalist and humanist,

is associated closely with the Dravidar Kazhagam for the past ten years. He is the President of ‘The Intellectual Forum’ arranging every

first Saturday of the month in which prominent people from various walks of life used to deliver lecture on important subjects and incidents. He is also the Correspondent of the Periyar Centenary Polytechnic College, Vallam, Thanjavur. As a Civil and Structural  Engineer,

he is guiding, advising and monitoring the construction works of the movement.

Your family – native place – background?

I was born in the year 1943 at Ammaiyappan Village, Thiruvarur Taluk, then Thanjavur District. At the age of 3 our family moved to Kanchipuram since my father started handlooom lungi business after he worked 20 years in Sri Lanka and returned from there.

Your Education?

B.E.( Civil). M.E. (Struct.), Ph.D. (Struct.), Phd.D. (Constn. Mangmt.) P.Eng., FIIE, MASCE (USA). After 15 years of profitable business, my father lost his business due to recession in that particular lunghi business at that time, when I was studying Pre-University  with the idea of studying Engineering College. But, for want of money, I was admitted to study diploma in Civil Engineering with very great difficulty. I could not bear my disappointment for not getting admitted in Engineering College to get Civil Engineering degree. At that time I took a strong decision that I should get the Degree in Engineering before I die. With this diploma I joined in the Government Service. While I was working as Junior/Assistant Engineer, I got my BE (Civil) M.E.(Strcl.) Phd.D. (Civil Structures) Phd. (Cons. Mangmt) subsequently from 1975 to 2005. I am a fellow member of various professional bodies of the country of USA. I am giving so much of information not for self boosting, but for motivating the youngsters that they should not blame their parents for not giving education. Let them learn what  they can in the life by doing hard work.

What was the occasion for you to become a Rationalist?

my grandfather Mr.T.K.Vijayaragavalu, Senior Lawyer, Nagapattinam was associating with our great Periyar. Whenever Periyar Ayya was camping at Nagapattinam / Thiruvarur area, he used to stay in our grand father’s house. Further my father was doing business at Kancheepuram. At that time I happened to listen to the lectures of Thanthai Periyar and Perarignar Anna. Though my father was an atheist, I compared  other people who worship god. Further I was living in the temple city of Tamilnadu. I saw so many people who talked atheism, but after sometime they become theists. So I want to analyze the theory of God and its creation from the angle of theist. So I went to Ramakrishna Mutt, Kancheepuram and spent 2 years to go through right from the Upanishads. In all the Upanishads there was no proper name for the gods. They have written only the word ‘Sakthi’ which is beyond our human power, and so we have to worship. But when I went through Swami Vivekananda’s (partly rationalist) eight volumes of “Complete Works of Vivekananda”,  he says in one place that “of all gods which reside in temples, churches and mosques the god which resides in human body as personal god is most important.” In another place he says that the god is not an object and it is in the form of spirit. Why all these confused explanations?
Periyar Ayya used to quote Buddha. So I went to Buddha Gaya, stayed there for a while and studied a lot and took a lot of hints on right path, eightfold path in our life.

He rightly pointed out that “love is god” or “work is god”. Why should we use  the unnecessary and unethical word of god ( or Sakthi as in Upinishads) and directly practice the love, work etc without the word of god. That made me  remove the word god from Vivekananda’s personal god. Then I completely understood the Periyar’s real philosophy of “Humanism” with the strong words of “Forget god, remember the human beings.” Then I completely studied the old Testament, New Testament, the Kuran and Ramana Maharishi. But I could not find any greatness, reality, simplicity to understand all the explanations on god, religion etc. except what I got from Periyar. The so-called spiritual people talk about the belief; but Periyar talks about the truth. I came to understand that “Truth does not have believers” because nobody will ask as “Do you believe the Sun or Moon” because ‘Sun’ is truth. But ‘god’ is belief. As Periyar truly said that god = Belief+ Ignorance+ Fear+ Greediness. Really I found the greatness of Periyar and became an atheist as well as a rationalist. There is no way to turn around when a person fully understands the Great Thanthai Periyar. Why do I call me a rationalist and an atheist? A rationalist need not be an atheist. But an atheist should definitely be a rationalist because of his thinking power.

One more incident in my life made me  become an atheist. The place Kancheepuram is famous for temples and the weekly deliberations of Puranas. Once I heard the story of Iranyan, who asked where  god is. He was told that god is everywhere. Immediately he kicked the stone pillar in front of him with his leg. The story says that the god came out from the stone pillar in the form of ‘Narasimha Avatharam’ and killed Iranyan by torturing and breaking his heart. But next week Periyar came and gave a demonstration by breaking the socalled Vinayagar idol on the street. When I saw it,  I felt, if I have knowledge and the scientific temper, I should believe the person who explains with all proof, not the stories from debris like foolish Puranas. That particular incident also made me  become a strong, unshakable atheist all along my life, even upto my death in future.

What or who are your early inspirations?

Directly, Periyar, Anna’s speeches and my father  simultaneously. My father bought the papers Kuyil, Viduthalai and some other papers and that also gave me inspiration. My father used to take me to Periyar’s meetings at Kancheepuram.

Was the change to rationalism smooth and easy?

No. After due verification and very hard efforts to find the truth from all sources, even from Vedeantha,  I realised that rationalism is the only way to attain true knowledge (Gnanam) in the world and definitely not by the fictitious god, Vedantham and religion. I accepted the rationalism with its genuineness and knowledge based thinking.

What are the initial hurdles you faced?

Since my father was an atheist there were no problems or hurdles to face. However I initially received displeasure from elders and theists. But in due course of time I made them  understand the truth though they are reluctant to be 100% rationalists.

How do you overcome them?

We know very well it is always difficult to convince the theist because they are not the thinkers and only blind and ignorant believers. However I managed with them and made an awareness among them to understand the Truth. I quote a lot of explanations given by our Thanthai Periyar. My ambition is to make a lot of people  become rationalists and atheists. I am always doing this propaganda wherever I go and whomever I meet.

What is rationalism in your opinion?

It is really thinking on the foolish, cheating preachings of ignorant people, analysing, struggling and coming out with reality and truth. For example in the olden days the people believed the so-called god was making the thunder, lighting, rain, sunlight, moonlight etc. Still people are advised to worship the sun god, rain god etc. These foolish ideas can be eradicated only when they think and know these happenings are by nature and not by god. Immediately they say nature is nothing but god. They are ignorant to understand that in the name of god all the priests in temples, churches, mosques and other places  are cheating us and they are earning money like politicians and public brokers. This is an example . Thus the rationalistic (knowledgeable) thinking is very important.

Rationalism does not enjoy support in society. In fact it means you have to lose or sacrifice many. What are they?

Most of the people, without the rationalistic thinking, live  with all ignorance. With the result, they believe in the non existent god, depend upon the astrology, good time, bad time, religion, not helping others, without having humanism. Even the societal thinking they don’t have since they don’t think and live properly with rationalistic idea. With the result while society is moving with all selfishness without  coming out with ‘service mind’ to help the country. The corruption, seeing useless TV programmes, to become an addict to alcoholic drinks, junk food and drinks, cigarettes, going to temple and offering lakhs and crores of rupees. In the Indian Parliament more debate is going on  on black money in the foreign / swiss banks/ But because of their ignorance they are not able to understand the black money that all the gods are having, crores and crores of rupees in all the temples. Take for example. Padamabha Swami temple in Kerala, Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh, Kasi etc. Very importantly I feel sad very much when it happens with our own kith, kins and friends. Is it not the societal and the whole country loss?

Do you find rationalism a social need?

A person may live without money. But he or she should not live without rationalism, because the rationalism  will bring money as the rationalistic people have thinking/knowledge power to earn proper money earned in the right way and sense. From most of the data given by the planners because the people don’t have rationalistic (right thinking power) ideas, India is suffering with too much population,  food and budget shortage. The god and religious thinking is dragging the people to depend upon the fate, trying to shed their responsibilities by thinking that god will help whatever atrocities, cheating in the name of bad business, keeping idle by doing Bajans. All these things will definitely affect the society a lot.

Who are the inspirations for you?

First preference I give it to Periyar because he was the man who brought the rationalistic ideas with the help of movement and series of lectures and meetings in Tamilnadu and particularly at my doorstep with my mother tongue. There might be a lot of philosophers in the world right from Socretes. But we always think the first person who gave the enlightenment to me and my Dravidian people. Always I whole heartedly think every day /moment in my life without forgetting his valuable service done to the society for its upliftment with the rationalistic idea. After that the day to day inspirations I got it from our Asiriyar Dr.K.Veeramani Avl who continues to explain excellently in all the meetings rationalistic ideas left by Periyar. As Asiriyar says always that Periyar is our master.

What do you think of Periyar’s rationalism?

Periyar’s rationalism differs from others. When we talk whether rationalism or atheism, as I understood, Periyar gave first preference to Atheirsm. I am of the opinion a person can call himself a proper rationalist only when he rejects the idea of god because god believers have all foolishness, evils, cheating etc. When we start thinking and rejecting the very great idea god, then only it will become very easy to be a true rationalist. Otherwise I can call a person who believes the god and religion  only an immatured rationalist when they call themselves  rationalists. So I admire Periyar’s rationalism of  atheism so much . He always insists that god and religion is the real evil of all the evils available in the society. Periyar’s very utterance of “forget god remember human beings” itself shows what  Periyar’s rationalism is. That alone helped us to come away from all the cheatings made by Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabaratha, Geetha, Vedhas, Manu Sastrah, Varnashrama Dharma etc. etc. The very idea of rejecting god alone will be helpful to the society to have the people with all humanism.

What do you find as unique about Periyar’s  rationalism?

Periyar’s uniqueness is that nobody has found the great world i.e.. ‘self-respect along with rationalism. If you see the history nobody has achieved like Periyar and he made an era. Whatever he was thinking to bring the reformation / transformation, he finally achieved and saw with his own eyes and enjoyed. He left for us  the great movement ‘Dravidar Kazhagam’ headed by our Asiriyar after him and Maniammai. Periyar is the only person brought his valuable philosophies of rationalism and atheism together and fought against Brahmanism and Varnashramam. He made an awareness among the downtrodden people to fight against it and to become IPS, IAS officers. Even the people like Buddha, Narayana Guru or Vallalar were not able to achieve though they preached and talked a lot. Because of intensive efforts made by Periyar with his original way of thinking we have the constitutional provisions of equal rights, equal educational and job opportunities. Because of Periyar’s preparation through our Asiriyar Tamil Nadu alone has got 69% reservation in India. We can say surely that only the people of Tamilnad will have the most rationalistic idea of atheirsm, when compared to other states in India. Is not this uniqueness about Periyar’s rationalism?

What would be your word of advice to a young person who wants to be a rationalist?

 Propaganda about rationalism among young person is a must, through media. Already we have journals like Unmai, Periyar Pinju, The Modern Rationalist and Viduthalai daily. Further we have valaikatchi. We should make an awareness meeting in all schools to create the usefulness of rationlism. This can be made by the student members of  Dravida Kazhagam. We have to approach various youth centres / movements to convene meetings to tell them to see our website and to read all the books published by Dravidar Kazhagam and by various humanist and rationalist forums of the world. As far as Dravidar Kazhagam is concerned it is moving on the right path with the help of Asiriyar and their collective team. However intensive activities may be taken up by youth wing. I think the powerful media of TV may be used in the possible channel on rental basis to explain about rationalism, as Christians and Hindus make god and religious propaganda. Huge fund raising campaign may be made as it was done in England to propagate by advertising even on the Buses.

What steps do you suggest to promote rationalism in the context of the present day religious centered society?

As Christians do, team of our youngsters should distribute a lot of phamplets containing the striking information on rationalism to go to various web sited to read compulsory. Once if they are ignited in their mind and made to have the truthfulness of rationalism, then they will continue to have that higher knowledge and propagate among other youngsters. Younger generation is very important because it will be easy to mould them as they are in the state of “wet clay” and we can mould them. Once a person becomes a pot or like burnt clay, we cannot mould or re-mould them.

Moral and Ethical codes are believed to ensure social security. Do you think rationalism is comprehensive enough to ensure social security?

Sure. Rationalism and atheism alone can lead a person or the society properly because rationalism is nothing but knowledge thinking. Once the society moves on knowledge everything will become allright. We can see the developed India only when we have knowledge (Rationalistic) society. No doubt about it. The entire society is like this with all evils and insecurity because the people do not have the rationalistic thinking, to have right education, right earnings, right living, right thinking, right speech, right actions, right mindfulness, right commitment in their life etc. etc.

Other than the above points, would you like to say anything else on rationlism? State it briefly.

Every existing rationalist on his / her part, should take an oath that they should make atleast 1000 to 10,000 younsters  become rationalists in the world. It can be done in the weekly friends gatherings, in all functions, marriage halls, association meetings etc. They can spend their time, money, efforts for this propagation without expecting the Dravidar Kazhagam. Especially rationalistic school teachers are very apt persons since they have lot of youths and young minds to prepare hundreds and thousands in every year.

At last I like to say the persons living without rationalistic thinking are almost dead, useless and unwanted persons in this world because they are not helpful for the upliftment of the society and they are degrading with their strong and ignorant thinking knowledge.

    - Interviewed by Prof.S.F.N.Chelliah

 

TERRORISM KNOWS NEITHER RELIGION NOR COLOUR

Look at the news item on 13-2-2012 (The Hindu). The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has held a Madhya Pradesh resident Kamal Chauhan on suspicion of having participated in the terrorist cell which carried out the attack on the Samjhauta Express the Lahore bound train on 12-02-2007, killing 68 people. “We believe Chauhan has critical information that could lead us to the rest of the plotters” an NIA official said.

Now who is this Kamal Chauhan? This Mhow-born Chauhan is a long-standing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist. He is only the second alleged perpetrator of the bombing to be held. Who is then the first one? Well. It is Lokesh Sharma an Indore-based Hindutva activist held in June 2010. The bombs,  the NIA now believes, were manufactured by fugitive Hindutva terrorist Sandeep Dange, an R.S.S. leader, who, investigators say, was the core figure in the planning of a series of Hindutva terrorirst attacks that began in 2002. Many of this gang are still at large.

The details available in this case unfold, a well organised network of conspiracy over a stretch of at least ten years. This is not, therefore, an isolated instance of an individual terrorist’s plot, but a well designed and deep rooted foundation of hatred, bias and fundamentalism. It is perhaps the strangest of ironies, that the activities of such hooligans go unchecked and have found  advocacy and patronage from many a half baked social philosophers and fanatics. The terrorism unleashed by the Hindutva fundamentalists is nothing less than that of Lakshar-e-Taiba.

Two major questions are faced by all those who still sincerely care for national harmony and peace. (1) What is the government at the Centre  doing to check and counter this menace? (2) How long will India and her fair-minded citizens putup with these atrocities?

The answers for these questions have to come from the responsible leaders and rulers of this country. The sooner they confront this evil, the better for Indian sovereignty and its security.

 

BRITISH ATHIEST’S VISIT TO PERIYAR MOVEMENT AND ITS EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS – NIETZSCHE

Dr.Susan Blackmore, Britain Atheist and the Honorary Associate of Britain Rationalist Press Association along with her husband Adam Hart Davis were on a two month tour (January and February, 2012) in India. While in India, they were invited by Periyar Movement, Tamil Nadu.

Periyar Thidal, Chennai

Accepting the invitation, they arrived at Chennai on 24th  January, 2012. They spent two days at Periyar Thidal, the Headquarters of Dravidar Kazhagam, an organisation founded by the great social revolutionary Periyar E.V.Ramasamy and presently led by Dr.K.Veeramani. After landing at Periyar Thidal, Dr. Susan openly expressed that she was not aware of the contributions of Periyar and his movement except the name.

Self respect is the basic trait of every human being. In the name of god and religion, major section of the people in India were oppressed and kept in the lower rung of the social strarta. Periyar (a great noble man) E.V.Ramasamy made the oppressed masses  realise self respect in them and liberated them to a larger extent. The movement Dravidar Kazhagam (D.K.) continues the social mission commenced by Periyar. Subsequent to Periyar his wife, E.V.R.Maniammaiyar led the movement and at present by Dr.K.Veeramani, an ideologically moulded  disciple groomed by Periyar himself.

The political offshoots of D.K., viz., Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) have been ruling the  State of Tamil Nadu, India for more than the past four decades both in ruling and in opposition sides. The political offshoots have proclaimed the ideals of Periyar for social upliftment. DK continues as a social movement without participating  in the election process directly. But it has got political interest to support the party who are expected to implement the ideals of Periyar. Its main activity is to do propaganda work on rationalism, scientific temper, social justice etc. The activities of the D.K. remain as precursor to facilitate many social reform enactments by the political rulers both  at State and Centre. Besides, the movement runs lot of educational institutions of primary, secondary, collegiate and research nature. With this briefing, Susan couple visited the various institutions situated at Periyar Thidal, Chennai. While visiting Periyar Memorial, Dr.Susan sought clarification on the sayings of Periyar  as inscribed in the pillars.

 ‘ Blind faiths could be eradicated only through the acts of destruction. Only those who possess conviction of courage and clarity of mind , devoid of least doubt and only those who do not care about being stranded and dare to face even death, can accomplish that task.’

“The word ‘destruction’ denotes negative feature” she observed. “Will it be proper to use it from a  rationalist angle?” When Susan couple met Dr.K.Veeramani at Periyar Museum, the issue came for discussion. Dr.K.Veeramani explained the word ‘destruction’ which may appear as negative superficially but in true sense it is not like that. It should be  ‘destruction of what’. With this explanation he quoted from  Periyar’s own sayings of Periyar like thus:

 ‘ Our daily life is regulated by superstition. As such it cannot be said that it is outside the pale of social reform  to preach against blind faiths and superstitious beliefs. On the other hand these are the targets for destructive attack on social reform. But as destructive tactics are ordinarily considered to be consistent with  reform , it may be necessary to call the attempt , re-construction , meaning thereby that we destroy first and then re-construct a new.’

Source : ‘Social Reform or Social Revolution’, Published by Dravidar Kazhagam

With these explanations the visitor – atheists got convinced.

Participation in
The Rationalists’ Forum Meet

On  the 25th  January, an interactive seminar was arranged by The Rationalists’ Forum Tamil Nadu, a humanist movement founded by Periyar E.V.Ramasamy and patronised by Dr.K.Veeramani. Mr. Sanal Edamaruku, President, Indian Rationalists Association, New Delhi and founder President of Rationalist International was also invited to participate in the programme.

Dr.K.Veeramani said ,while addressing the audience thus:

“Humanism is the outcome of atheism and rationalism. Humanism is the bedrock of Periyar ideals. Self respect movement was started by Periyar after deep and intensive thought on the line  of humanism against the social inequalities, and exploitations prevailing in the society. Periyar movement is unique in the aspect  that  there was no such movement fought for the cause,  during the past . Humans must possess positive mental outlook. Consciousness of mind is the precursor  for the self respect to emerge. Animals do not feel self respect instinct. Self respect is the basic trait that differentiates humans from animals. Possessing and upholding self respect is the pathway for the development and prosperity of mankind”.

Dr.Susan Blackmore delivered a lecture on ‘ Mystery of Consciousness’ which invited a lot of interactions with the audience, comprising of  a good section of rationalists, free thinkers in and around Chennai  City. Sanal Edamaruku, briefed about the rationalists and their mission,  culminating with Periyar E.V.R. as a mass leader with a movement backing.

On the  26th  January, Susan and Sanal visited Mamallapuram, a place of art and sculpture in the form of cave temples which remained as capital of Pallava kings in 7th  Century. Susan and Sanal explained how the religion dominated in art and culture with the support of the then political rulers. Had it been diverted for human development, the society would have excelled better as benefactor.

Periyar Maniammai University, Vallam, Thanjavur

On  the 27th  January, Susan and Sanal visited Periyar Maniammai University, Vallam, Thanjavaur an Institution by the Periyar Trust. Dr.K.Veeramani, Chancellor of Periyar Maniammai University inaugurated the Students Clubs and Societies under the auspices of Centre for Students and Administrative Services (CSAS). Nearly 23 Student Clubs and 9 Societies participated in the function. Dr.Susan Blackmore delivered lecture on her research topic ‘Mystery of Consciousness’ elaborately so as to cater the nature of student and teacher audience. Sanal Edamaruku covered the topic of ‘History of Rationalist Movement in the World’ elaborately. Dr.N.Ramachandran, Vice Chancellor of the University presided over the function. Dr.K.Veeramani,  announced a competition for the students clubs and societies through their participation in an exhibition, providing their talents by fixing 3  cash prizes of Rs. 10,000, Rs. 7,000 and Rs. 3,000 each. Their presentations have to be accomplished within a period of 6 months. The announcement made by the Chancellor aroused a lot of enthusiasm and involvement of the students in their endeavour. Susan and Sanal went around the University Campus and witnessed the various educational and community development activities of the University which served the students as well as the villagers surrounding the campus. The public from the surrounding villages are the continuous visitors  to the university, which brought the identity to the University as People’s University. Susan, as environmentalist was happy when she planted a tree sapling on  the campus. Such planting is not mere ceremonial; many such greenery spread of the campus are due to the tree plantings done by earlier visitors and dignitaries to the University. Susan  marvelled to look at the ‘Periyar Millennium Planting’ done by the delegates (inland and foreign) who attended World Atheist Conference held in January 2011. Besides, she felt happy about the PURA (Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas) programmes popularly identified as Periyar PURA by the former President of India Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam while visiting the campus during his Presidentship . With that identity as Periyar PURA, he has been quoting it elaborately during his visit in other areas / countries including its due coverage in his latest book ‘Target 3 Million’.

Periyar Centenary Educational Campus , Trichy

After taking leave at the University, on the same day Susan and Sanal proceeded to Trichy situated at 50  kms distance where the primary, secondary and Higher secondary and vocational educational institutions are run by the Periyar Trust which  render good educational services.

Dr.Susan and Sanal were welcomed by the young children of Periyar Nursery School students by offering flower bouquets. All the the students of Periyar Centenary Matriculation Higher Secondary School and Maniammai Girls Higher Secondary School were welcoming the Susans and Sanal with clapping, standing in all the floors of the multi storeyed buildings which was really a moving and touching experience for Susan and Sanal. The students came voluntarily to talk to Susan and Sanal. They answered  instantaneously to the queries and clarification raised by the visitors. When they visited Nagammaiyar Teachers Training  Institute, the teacher- trainees, with their Principal and teachers welcomed them . When Susan asked about Nagammaiyar in whose name the institute has been started, the facts about ‘Nagammaiyar’ made everyone  wonder.

Nagammaiyar was the first wife of Periyar E.V.Ramasamy who  associated herself with all the activities of her husband till her death in 1933. When Periyar led the ‘Vaikom Agitation’ – the first agitation for human rights enforcement, demanding the entry of the so called untouchable people in the lower structure of the society (as per Hindu Varnashrama Dharma) in the streets (not in the temples) surrounding the Maha Devar Temple,  Vaikom, Kerala. When Periyar was arrested, his wife Nagammaiyar led the agitation.  Besides the role played by her was duly recognised by Mahatma Gandhi when agitation to picket the toddy shops was  scheduled. It raised law and order problem for the British rulers. When Gandhi was persuaded to call of the agitation he told, the withdrawal was not in his hands but under the sole control of two eminent ladies at Erode viz. Nagammaiyar and Kannammaiyar (Sister of Periyar.)Thus  Periyar remained as a role model in involving the womenfolk in the family for the public life with concern. On hearing the history behind Nagammayar, Susan and Sanal exclaimed at the role of women in participation of social struggles. Besides, Sanal wondered when he came to know that except the teachers training institutes, all other educational institutions managed by the Trust were established by Dr. K.Veeramani, after the demise of Periyar to make the mission  treading the path laid down by Periyar. Susan  and Sanal were explained about the Nagammaiyar Children Home and Samy Kaivalyam Home for the Aged, functioning within the campus. Then they visited Periyar Centenary Pharmacy College in the campus. The entire teachers , staff and management welcomed Susan and Sanal. They visited the library, laboratory, computer lab and interacted with the students and staff. The infrastructure available at the college is utilised for research activities of students including the government. The students graduated from the college are well-placed in their profession both in India and abroad. Susan felt happy when a girl student boldly told that even she was prepared to serve in Britain, if an opportunity was provided. Then Susan queried about the areas  from where the student inmates hail and how the people dwelling in surrounding areas of the campus view about the services rendered. Prof. P.Subrmanian, Co-ordinator for all the activities of educational institutions at Periyar Centenary Educational Campus replied that the inmates hail from average and below average families. The institutional  services are duly appreciated by the dwellers, surrounding the campus.

Periyar advocated women education not only  as  an ideal but enabled for their education by establishing institutions which proliferated further through the initiatives and management of his disciple, Dr.K.Veeramani. Periyar Centenary Educational Campus, Trichy and Periyar Maniammai University, Vallam, Thanjavur along with Periyar Centenary Polytechnic, Vallam and educational institutions remain as edifice mainly for the education of women.

With a satisfied mood on the role performed by Periyar Movement for women education and empowerment, Susan and Sanal left from Trichy. On the way to Chennai, they recollected their pleasant visit to Thanjavur and Trichy. During the course of discussion on Periyar Movement and the rationalist ideals it propagates. Susan expressed certain reservation  about installation of statues for Periyar at Chennai, and Trichy campuses. She expressed her apprehension that it would lead to idolatry at later period. The General Secretary of the Rationalists’ Forum who accompanied Susan and Sanal from Chennai and back started to explain thus :

 “Periyar statues are installed not only in the institutional areas of Periyar Movement,  the installation of Periyar  statue in public places like bus stations, hospitals, government offices, local administrative offices, vital  junctions in the State and National Highways, is to express the gratitude of the government and the public for the contributions made by Periyar to the society and mankind. Not only that, the installation of statues will spread the rationalist ideals of Periyar to the existing generation and the posterity.

Even the  literates are not in the habit of reading rationalist literature revealing self respect, social justice, scientific temper development, women education and empowerment. Illiterates cannot even attempt on it. For such types of people mere glance of installed statues of Periyar will enable them to come to know about the ideals.

For these reasons , the statues of Periyar are installed. When alive, Periyar permitted  the installation of his statue without any botheration on the perfection of moulding his figure. He was very much particular about inscription of any of his propaganda message in the platform where the statue is installed like ‘No god, Nowhere is god” . . . ‘Forget god, think of human!’  At any point of time either present or future, the statue will not be worshipped but only  with due  respect paid. No pooja or ritual would be allowed at the statue site. Such is the agenda of installation of Periyar’s statue, the maintenance of which will not, on any account, encourage worshipping. Periyar’s statue cannot be compared to idolatry”.

With these explanations Susan felt convinced. Immediately after reaching Chennai, they left for airport to return to Britain. Adam Hart Davis could not accompany to Thanjavur and Trichy since he was indisposed. While leaving  Dr.Susan Blackmore expressed happiness of knowing many facets of Periyar movement and its rationalist ideals and understood the unique feature which cannot be witnessed in any other part of the globe. With that understanding of Periyar, Susan couple bid farewell with the assurance of  their visit again.

 

VIII – FIRA NATIONAL CONFERENCE – V.KUMARESAN

VIII National Conference of Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA) was held at Nagpur, Maharashtra on 11th  and 12th  February 2012. FIRA constitutes 83 Rationalist Associations from different states of the country. The Rationalists Forum, Tamil Nadu which is one of the founder-organisation members of FIRA participated in the Conference.

The  Conference was held at Hindi Bhawan Ram Gopal Maheswari Subagraha, Rani Jhansi Square, Sitabuldi, Nagpur. The Conference was hoisted by Akhil Bharatiya Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samithi (ABANS), an affiliate of FIRA along with the Association for Research and Training in Basic Science Education, Nagpur.

First Day Proceedings INAUGURATION

The Conference was inaugurated by Dr. Vilas Sapkal, Vice-Chancellor, Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj University, Nagpur. He emphasised that the development of scientific temper which is mentioned as one of the fundamental duties of Indian Constitution in Article 51 (a) h, has to be propagated among the masses. Once the scientific temper develops the superstition would automatically vanish . Prof. Sharad Patil, President, Gaikwad-Patil Group of Institutions, Nagpur delivered the  Presidential address. While addressing, he pointed out that rationalist movement must take up propaganda primarily against the self styled god-men, devils, tantriks, sorcerers, astrologers and such others who befool and exploit the gullible public.  These unscrupulous elements, for their own selfish gains, encourage the common man’s belief in irrational superstitions such as fate, astrology, rebirth, ghosts, sorcery, witchcraft, miracles, magic, charms, spells, dubious  curse etc.

The theme of the conference, ‘The Rise of Intolerance in India’ was explained by Prof. Narendra Nayak, National President, FIRA. Introductory speech was delivered by Harish Deshmukh, National Secretary,   Umesh Choubey, National  Working President – ABANS welcomed and the inaugural session was concluded with  the vote of thanks by Dr.N.D.Patil.

Prof. Shyam Manav, Founder and Organiser ABANS delivered a special lecture on ‘Role of Rationalism in Development of Country and Humanism.’ The Biennial Reports of FIRA affiliate member organizations were presented by the respective functionaries. The brief  of various propaganda activities including conducting seminar, workshop, publication of rationalist literature were explained by the functionaries. The session proceedings took place in the presence of the National Executive Committee  Members. Madhukar Kample, National President, ABANS, chaired the session.

After lunch, technical sessions  started. U.Kalanathan, Patron, FIRA and President, Kerala Yukthivathi Sangham presented a paper on ‘Secularisation of India.’ He strongly advocated the initiative of separating politics from religion which will facilitate the sustenance of real secularism in the country. superstition  breaking and miracle exposure demonstrations

In the evening superstition  breaking and miracle exposure demonstrations were conducted out by the volunteers of rationalist movement. Walking over thorny platform was demonstrated, exhibiting nothing divine in it except  familiarity and frequent  practices to do it.

After dinner, an interactive session was addressed by Babu Gogineni, International Director, International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). He discussed  the probable problems and challengers that EVERY rationalist organization might have to face in the prevailing environment and how to function under such circumstances effectively.

Second Day Proceedings  Miracle Exposure Public Rally

At first, miracle exposure public rally was organised where all the delegates representing various rationalist organisations took part. Pulling the Ambassador car by the volunteers, by needle stitched string on their back, demonstrations exposing the deeds of black magic, sorcery – were the phases  of the procession. The procession captured the attention of the public at large.

Session: The Rise of Intolerance in India

Again the proceedings were started in the auditorium. The technical session ,’ The Rise of Intolerance in India’ was chaired by V.Kumaresan, General Secretary, The Rationalists’  Forum, Tamil Nadu. ( Please see the  excerpts  of the speech in page no 27 to 29) The functionaries of other rationalist organisations viz. Prof. Dhaneshwar Sahoo of Orissa Rationalist Association, Dr.G.Vijayam of Atheist Centre, Vijayawada, Prof. Balwinder Singh Barnala of Turksheel Society, Punjab,  Jayagopal of Atheist Society of India, Visakapatnam, Dr. Anand of Science for Society, Jharkhand, T.V.Manoj of Bangalore Rationalist Association, Ramachandra C.S.T. Voltaire of AMOFOI, Bhubaneswar presented their papers on the rise of intolerance.

Panel Session : Modern Spiritual Godman’s Industry

The Panel Session on “Modern Spiritual Godman’s Industry”  chaired by R.G.Rao a.k.a. Somu,  National Secretary, FIRA.  V.Nehru, President of the Rationalists’ Forum, Tamil Nadu  presented his paper. While addressing, he reminded all the charges leveled against Sai Baba by the rationalists got exposed after his death. More valuables both in kind and cash were recovered from his private room. In Tamil Nadu, Sankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt , the first accused in the murder of the temple manager  which is under the judicial proceedings  is freely wandering under religious clout. Dr.K.Veeramani, President, Dravidar Kazhagam   two decades back exposed by delivereing serial lectures on ‘Who is Sankaracharya?’  After the arrest of Sankaracharya, again he delivered through series of   lectures, ‘ Divine Deeds ! ’. The earlier exposure became a reality now. What rationalists exposed earlier becomes known to the  public explicitly at present.

Resolutions :

To conclude the conference the resolutions were passed on the following lines to strengthen the activities of FIRA.

- to conduct marches towards Parliament for separating politics from religion.
- to form an exclusive Law Commission to enable  insertion of provisions and enactment to adhere the secular value of the state machinery.

- to facilitate the enactment against superstitious belief, black magic, sorcery, etc.
- to conduct training programmes especially for youth on eradication of superstitions.

New National Executive Committee – FIRA

The following functionaries were elected for the National Executive Committee.

Patron: Dr.G.Vijayam, Atheist Centre, Vijayawada.

National President: Prof. Narendra Nayak, Dhakshina Kannada Rationalist Association.

Vice-Presidents:V.Kumaresan, The Rationalists’ Forum, Tamil Nadu, Prof. Balwinder Singh Barnala, Turksheel Society, Punjab, Harish Deshmukh, Akhil Bhartiya Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, Nagpur, Prof. Dhaneswar Sahoo, Orissa Rationalists Association Bhubaneswar, Kranti, Maharashtra Andolan Nirmoolan Samithi, Pune,Sukumaran, Kerala Yukthivathi Sangham, Thiruvananthapuam

National Secretary: U.Kalanathan, Kerala Yukthivathi Sangham

Secretaries: South Zone: V.Nehru, The Rationalists’ Forum ,Tamil Nadu, North Zone: Binder , Turksheel Society, Punjab, East Zone: Samba Siva Rao, Manava Vikasa Vedika , Andhra Pradesh,West Zone: Anil Kumar, Kerala Yukthivathi sangham

Treasurer: R.G.Rao a.k.a. Somu, Goa Science Forum, Panjim Goa

MALAFIDE INTENTIONS OF R.S.S – KALIPOONGUNDRAN

Thiru Mohan Bagath, Saraksalaksang (President) of R.S.S., while participating in the 150th birthday celebrations of Vivekananda at Kavalkinaru in Kanyakumari District  of Tamilnadu said that the R.S.S. will strive to make the dream of Vivekananda of India presiding over and leading the world a reality. He also said that  they will work for the encouragement of Hindu theism and religious spirit.

Thiru Mohan Bagath declared that India need no other culture for its development and it is enough if  our culture and tradition is followed sincerely.

The sayings or dreams of Vivekananda are  a mixture of many things and we don’t know which of them the R.S.S. leader is proposed to follow.

All the culture and tradition pointed out by him are exclusive traits of Brahmanism. We have to make sure first whether Vivekanda accepted all these culture and tradition.

Vivekanda emphasised that the venom spilled by Brahmanism should be swallowed only by Brahmanism. If you delete such Brahmanism from Hindutva, it will only be a skeleton without any blood or nerve. It is a moot point whether they can do their business successfully with this skeleton.

Vivekananda didn’t accept the slogan of  worshiping Cow as their family deity, an idea dear to the R.S.S. and their Sangh Parivar.

They are boasting and propagating throughout the world that Bagavath Geetha is the treasure of Hindusm. What is the opinion of Vivekanda about Geetha? He said that it would be better to learn to play football than trying to propagate Geetha.

Thanthai Periyar E.V.Ramasami wanted that the Geetha  should be exposed among the public. Dr. B.R.Ambedkar said that Geetha is a blabber of a fool.

While things are so,  what culture and tradition Mr. Mohan Bagat and his R.S.S. intend to use in the development of our nation? Are they going to mould an altogetherf a new India?

What is the result of their nurturing the nation sofar? They have divided people in the name of religion and caste and encouraged enmity among them. What else have they  achieved sofar?

He said that there are 75 R.S.S. Shagas in India and through them the youngsters will be trained physically, mentally and spiritually. Such training will be given also for women.

What is the meaning of this training programme? They want nothing but to do the Gujarat experiment throughout India, shed the blood of people of other religions, draw a wedge or line between Hindus and people of other religions,  foment and keep always the spirit of enmity between people of various religions.

What type of training is given in these R.S.S. Shagas? Didn’t the Central Government know what type of training they are giving? What steps did the Government take in this matter?

These cunning people are talking about United India on the one hand and on the other  they are determined  to disintegrate the nation in the name of religion. People should identify these evil forces which are a menace to the integration and welfare of the nation.

Their only intention is  to nurture Varnasrama Dharma in the name of spirituality and to uphold the hegomony of the Brahmins in the name of Varnasrama Dharma.

This intention itself will draw the flak of the common public and ultimately lead to the downfall of these forces.

(Translation of Editorial of ‘Viduthalai’  
-2-2012 by D.K.Balakrishnan)