SECULARISM, NATIONALISM & INDIA

Whether strong
        nationalism could

        lead to a strengthening of secularism in India ? Is Narendra Modi’s recent definition of secularism “acceptable or expedient”?

Given his record of hostility towards minorities, Modi is far too intolerant a person to define secularism in any way. At the same time it is assumed that ‘secularism’ and ‘tolerance’ are  to be identical. They are not. It is a confusion emerging out of a unique Indian interpretation of secularism by which the concept, which in much of the world is defined as the separation of religion and religious activities from the affairs of the state, is assumed here to mean religious tolerance. But if you go by the globally accepted definition of secularism, you would find it possible to be secular while being deeply devoted to a particular religion to the extent of actively disliking devotees of other religions.

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DR. K.VEERAMANI DEMANDS THAT THE B.J.P SHOULD APOLOGIZE

DR. K.VEERAMANI DEMANDS THAT THE B.J.P SHOULD APOLOGIZE

THEIR DEMAND IS UNACCEPTABLE : WHY SHOULD THE NOBEL LAUREATE DR. AMARTYA SEN RETURN HIS AWARD OF BHARAT RATNA?

Dr.K. Veeramani  has strongly  condemned  the undemocratic, autocratic and puerile  demand made by  a B.J.P. spokesman  M. Chandan Misra  that Dr. Amartya Sen  should surrender   his  Bharat Ratna  Award   as he expressed his opinion  that   Narendra  Modi  would not be the right choice for the post  of the highest  democratic  office of  India.  In an interview  for  a  magazine  Dr. Sen  commented that with a deep rooted hatred and bias towards  the  minority community  citizens of this land and his open stand against the  secular  rights and  principles  guaranteed in  the Indian Constitution,  Modi  is  unfit to be  Prime Minister of India.  

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News about Ghosts spread like wild fire

A major challenge to the efforts of
eradication of superstition!

Since the period of primitive life, human beings have been leading their lives with a sense of insecurity, as the culmination of their reluctance to think over the mysteries,  which remained unanswered around them. As rational thinking advanced , science got developed  and reasons were found out over such mysteries, they felt some sort of security. However the spirit of enquiry continues to remain stunted whatever be the educational background and the position, people assume. They simply become the subject of mental slavery without the application of mind. They are more concerned in justifying their opinion by merely shielding themselves in the name of ‘faith’. Prevalence of this sort of mentality in human beings is the breeding ground for the spread of superstition.

The observance according to one’s faith personally, even though it is meaningless, affects only that individual. The faith in superstition has got  societal bearing which is detrimental to the cause of the mankind and its peaceful living. In this context, the prevalence and practice of superstition must be eradicated in its entirety. Superstition of any degree that prevails in the society continues to remain as the stumbling block for human progress. It stretches back the people from the positive path – treading. Much of human time gets wasted, which could otherwise be deployed constructively.

Recently, ‘vampire is wandering in the villages’ – is the popular attention catching news in many vernacular print media in the northern parts of Tamil Nadu, India. The print media have not discharged their due social responsibility. The news spread like wild fire in many villages. The spread was restricted only to the  ‘villages’. If this stress on ‘villages’ is understood properly, then solution will be automatic.

The social relationship that exists in the society is in one way advantageous to the spread of superstition. Many people do not believe in ‘vampire’. But they have to remain as the one in the lot in the observance of protective measures from the so called deleterious effects of vampire. To the extent they are conscious about the humbug of ‘vampire’, they could not resist it and oppose the superstition from its further spread. The villagers belief falsely that by inscribing ‘trishul’ on the doors of household and writing as ‘Go back today! Come on tomorrow!’ will wean away the entry of vampire. What a fantastic deed twisted against to fortify their households from the so called attack of vampire!

The Rationalists’ Forum of Periyar Movement, an unequivocal social reform movement took earnest steps as  Fact Finding Mission, and visited the news inflicted villages. Invariably the functionaries of the Forum interacted with the villagers.

The appreciable and positive point observed out of the interaction is that no one was definitive about the prevalence of vampire. Individually, they are strong against such superstition. However they have to get along with the stream of fellow villagers. The inscriptions in the house  both ‘figurative’ and in ‘script’ are uniform with the  same style of font and colour. This itself is the  proof that the inscription was not made individually by  the inmates of the respective households but  by a team of trouble mongers and few people who do possess certain vested interests. The people in the house do not have the guts to oppose while inscribing or to  erase it afterwards. The lack of guts on the part of the villagers is not due to the ‘fear on vampire’. The reality is that they do not wish to antagonize the fellow villagers, despite its deception.

In another village visit, it came to light, that the gullible villagers have been stuck with the news of vampire in a different way. The milch animals and other livestock suffered immediate and sudden death due to some diseases, which could not be diagnosed till now by the veterinary experts. When the specimen of  the dead livestock were sent for laboratory investigation and further  study, the news was spread as if the death of the livestock was caused by the attack of the vampire. The remoteness of the geographical location of the village from the main stream,  was advantageous to the rumour mongers. The ignorant villagers who were at the heavy loss resulted due to the death of their livestock had to believe on the line of the spread of false news.

The social coherence and the ignorance that prevails in the villages is the major contributing factor for the perception and practice of superstitions like vampire, sorcery, black magic etc. Such sort of perception is not prevalent in urban areas where, the fore said elements are missing comparatively. Urbanization is welcome though not in the eradication of superstition fully but at least in ignoring the spread of news of superstition as wild fire.

Inculcation of rationality and enlightening the masses against the belief of  superstition is the ultimate agenda to be accomplished by any lover of mankind. Periyar Movement charted out a whirlwind propaganda tour to visit the villages on war footing to  wipe out the wild fire spread of vampire wandering in the illusion inflicted  villagers . This  rationalist propaganda was aimed at instilling the confidence in the minds of the villagers, instead of  being carried away by the false propaganda, made by the vested interests.

The  cunning inner plan of the gainers who  prescribe compensatory rituals to the innocent and ignorant masses were exposed. Questioning approach, inquiring mind which are unusual among the ignorant villagers got inculcated in their minds. For the time being some sort of relief from the superstitious mental make up have been carved out. Permanent solution lies in the sustained development of scientific temper, spirit of enquiry which are directed as the fundamental duty of the  citizen, enunciated in the Indian Constitution.

 Article 51 A (h) says,

‘It shall be the duty of every citizen of India, to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform’

Let us make the citizens duty bound fundamentally, in order to protect themselves,  enabling their escape from the mental enslavement due to superstition!

THE MEDIA MAFIA IN INDIA – PROF.S.F.N CHELLIAH

The recent spurt of media hype, aimed at the gullible masses in India to hoodwink them into believing in nonexistent matters, is no doubt, a cause for grave concern for all those who are still committed to the secular fabric of India. Look at what Vinod Mehta, the Editor in Chief of the Outlook group, and who has a meritorious journalistic performance for over forty years, has to say in this regard:

“The increasing corporate ownership of the media landscape in India could undermine its plurality and independent functioning” (Courtesy: The Hindu dated 28-01-2012). Vinod Mehta is no ordinary person as far as Indian journalism is concerned. His words come in the wake of serious threat from the vested interests of the corporate syndicate in India. Their money power is pumped into the media world, to control, direct, edit and present truth as it suits them. Vinod Mehta has been trying “to address the conundrum over whether the journalist and the politician could be friend or made strong bed fellows. Their jobs differed fundamentally; while the journalist’s basic objective was to get at the truth, the politician would be engaged in evasion, spinning or sometimes even outright lies. The twain can never meet, and if it did, it was dangerous.”

Such a galore of glaring misrepresentations in almost all the sections of media in India have created a myth that these handful anti social elements are the true representatives of the total Indian consciousness.

Take for example some of the significant media making in the recent past. The case pertaining to the allocation of 2G spectrum, Anna Hazare’s gimmicks on corruption, banning of A.K.Ramajujan book on Ramayana by the Delhi University etc. A negligible minority making the loudest noise in the media has got away with whatever they wanted. The culprit behind all these hijackings of truth has been the media, sponsored and managed by the corporate bandigoots. The voice of truth had been stifled so brutally that the voices of some of those who attempted to raise against these atrocities were diffused and weakened. They have succeeded in creating an illusion that such fundamentalist, separatist, discriminatory views are the views of the majority in India.

Such a galore of glaring misrepresentations in almost all the sections of media in India have created a myth that these handful anti social elements are the true representatives of the total Indian consciousness. Voices opposing this media aggression are there, but only in patches and in weak pitches. There is no serious attempt to consolidate all these voices. The media take courage from this culture of silence of the intellectuals in India.

The media are engaged not only in projecting falsehood, but also in presenting distorted versions of truth in such a way that they not only twist, bend and stifle but also deviate from the core of the truth. A select coverage of news items not palatable to them, or which seem to go against their interests, are slyly edited and presented hiding the core of the message of the news in order to promote their interests, It will be relevant at this juncture to present the letter written by Dr.K.Veeramani on      01-01-2012 to Mr.Ram, who was on that date the Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu.

“Dear  Thiru Ram,
    Vanakkam.  Greetings of the season.

    I feel compelled to write this letter to bring to your notice, a glaring omission in the report of the Hindu dated 30-12-2011, of the speech delivered by the Nobel Laureate Dr.Venkataraman Ramakrishnan at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

    I have gone through the reports of the same speech in four dailies; The Times of India, The New Indian Express, Dhinamalar (Tamil) and ‘The Hindu’. The caption in the Times of India reads, “Nobel Laurates Venki calls astrology a fake discipline.” Dhinamalar quotes his exhortation “Trust in scienves giving up superstition.” But the Hindu caption reads “Good science is not possible without freedodm of thought.,”

    What  merits this speech worthy of a  news report is his emphatic rejection of astrology and homeopathy based on pure scientific basis. But the Hindu has very subtly veiled the core of the issue of this speech. The Hindu has thus deftly  shirked its moral responsibilities. Why should this daily shy away from truth?

    I am convinced that this is a definite affront on the jouranlistic ethics, which we all of us are most seriously concerned about. I have never failed to acknowledge that you are a genuine progressive thinker. But this lapse has jeopardized that image.  Erosion of such basic journalistic ethics does not augur well for the thinking, discretionary and fairminded public.

    I request your immediate intervention and cautious guidance to the Hindu in matters such as this.

    I shall be pleased to hear your views on this.

With regards.
Yours Sincerely ,
Sd.K.Veeramani

The voice of the just, the voice of the oppressed, the voice of the truth, are all today at the mercy of these media mafia in India.

What is evident from all these events is that the media are in the hands of the affluent minority of the corporate giants, who wield all the powers of the information scenario, suited to their selfish ends. The voice of the just, the voice of the oppressed, the voice of the truth, are all today at the mercy of these media mafia in India. The Governments, the service organisations, the intellectuals, the social units and all the fair-minded citizens should come together to counter these false propaganda trends and check them as effectively as possible  and as early as possible.