The dillemmas of a questioning mind

What is it that makes it a taboo to criticize the horrible things that religions preach?
Why do “liberals” not do it?
Is it the threat of violence?
If I state the fact the Hinduism is the most vile of religions when it comes to dehumanising and disenfranchising a subset of it’s own followers, particularly women… Should this statement cause the religious to reconsider what is written in their scripture and realise the damage those scriptures have caused to countless humans? Or should they kill me for saying it?
Similarly, If I say, Islam is the most violent of religions and the doctrines are directly responsible for deaths of millions of people around the world, should the Muslims look directly at their scriptures and realise that the fact is, their scripture does indeed ask them to kill those who do not believe the same and discard such scriptures as cruel and idiotic? Or should they proclaim that Islam is the “religion of peace” repeatedly while holding placards, rioting around the world damaging the property demanding that I be beheaded for suggesting that Islam is not a religion of peace?
And should I say that Christianity was equally or more cruel than Islam in it’s prime, and Christians will do better to not go back to those dark ages and drag millions with them. Should this prompt them to consider the bloody history of Christianity and work towards not taking the world back through that kind of bloodshed? Or should they consider me as third world savage who needs some democracy and converting (saving).
What would you do?
Are you religious? If yes, will you look at yourself in the mirror and see the horrors of your religious ideology reflect back? Think about how many death threats you have issued, and rapes and killings you are complicit in by encouraging such a behaviour in more virulent criminals within your fold to uphold your notion of sansakr.
Are you a “liberal”, leftist (like the trendy, some JNU types), You too look at yourself, and ask yourself, why you do not condemn bigotry equally, why don’t you stand for the freedom of expression for everyone, why don’t you see your failure to question all religious ideology equally, and Islam in particular, is the reason the right wing fundies are taking over every corner of civil society.

The larger issue:

 

The issues plaguing India today are.
1. Poverty
2. Casteism
3. Oppression of women
4. Dismal healthcare system
5. Dismal education system
6. Inept and corrupt political system

There are other equally important issues, however, let us consider the above problems and how they contribute to a vicious cycle of oppression, poverty and societal failure.

This is our legacy, and the vicious cycle is perpetuated by the anti-poor, and pro rich economic policies like tax incentives, lower interest rates to corporate sector and waiving of corporate debt on one hand and reducing amount for education, primary healthcare on the other.

The total bail out cost for this current year stands at 87 Billion Dollars, a whooping 4.4% of GDP of India, where as the budgetary allocation for healthcare stands at 0.25% of GDP.

The tax forgone from corporate houses this year stands at 62000 crore rupees, when the total allocation for education is not even half of that.

These are the economic policies that are truly anti national and anti-dalit, anti-poor.

They want to open up public education, healthcare and agriculture to WTO regulations and want to consider these as salable services.

What this means is, education will no longer be affordable for economically poorer sections of the society, the nightmare in this hellish situation is this, 90% of the economically oppressed and marginalised people belong to SC/ST communities.

Out of pocket spending by the poor on healthcare (more than 80% of healthcare is already privitised in India), is the leading cause of poverty and perpetuation of the poverty as per national statistics.

Now, about the social evils like oppression of women, dalits, and imposition of one idea of nation, culture, history, religion.

This effort by the right wing fundamentalists has been in place from even before the political independence of India.

The RSS has been re writing the history to project all muslim rulers are oppressive and have made great inroads in villages, educational institutes across the country. RSS (Hindu mahasabha) sided with the British during the freedom struggle, since it is shameful now, they are rewriting the history.

They killed Gandhi because Gandhi was fighting these very same people for dalits and oppressed castes.

The ugly untouchability is still very much in practice all over the country.

But the Brahmanical imperialists want caste system to continue because they don’t want dalits to get education, economic freedom, sexual freedom, they want uneducated slaves to work for them and make them rich.

So to achieve this, they have to make sure every voice of reason, every voice of the oppressed is shut down.

They can achieve this only when the universities that always have stood for the rights of the oppressed, marginalised and downtrodden, and have fought against the state oppression, to be defamed, vilified and finally shut down.

The effort against the universities has been a long one, and now since they are in power, they are taking the next step, actually try and shut them down.

This is the real issue behind what happened in JNU, HCU, FTII, IIT Madras, Lucknow Univerisity, Jadhavpur University, BHU, Ambedkar University.

We can not de-link what has been going on at other universities from JNU.

You may have other opinions, but after very careful study of events, the modus operandi of RSS over the years, it is very evident to me that I am not mistaken.

The RSS and BJP really want to end education of poor people and dalits, they truly want to make sure no voices of dissent are heard.

The roots and need for freedom of speech

This is an attempt to bring into discussions, currently underway, the arguments hitherto not considered or not voiced in the open because there is a general sense of fear of offending the masses, my aim is to discuss those issues that need better elucidation and to bring back the discussion to the basic premises when one is engaged in discussion/debate concerning freedom of speech and expression, and freedom of thought and conscience.

There have been attempts made by lawyers and judiciary to address this issue, progress has been made, albeit slowly and painfully, I am not discounting this fact.
With regards to freedom of thought and speech one must begin the discussion with the sound understanding of the human history, evolution, our place in the cosmos.
The fundamental flaw in understanding freedom is a failure to acknowledge where we come from and how we come about. The discussion always starts without taking into account the natural process of birth, and evolutionary history.
To illustrate my point, I would like to quote Professor Richard Dawkins from “Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder”. “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.” I would highly recommend you to watch this beautiful 4-minute video of the same on Youtube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=B94EtOOaoOM
Contemplate this sentence for a few days to understand the gravity of the matter and the extremely unlikely fact of our lives, now that we are here, let us for a moment reflect on that fact, did we choose to be born, importantly, did we choose to be born in a particular geography, di we choose who our parents should be, did we choose what language our mothers and fathers spoke? The simple answer to all these questions is a resounding no.
Now let us consider the history and evolution briefly, human beings have been around since 2,00,000 years in this planet, for much of our existence we did not have a coherent language and we did not have the know how to record what we experienced, the process of civilization is predicated on scientific breakthroughs of one kind or the other, humanity made great leaps because of cooking their food, cooked food meant we had to spend less energy in digesting what we ate that resulted in a surplus of energy which was utilised by the brains for thinking, this is why we are intelligent. The next ground-breaking advances were primarily because of agriculture, domestication, and then group formations, the social structures that slowly emerged had a powerful evolutionary advantage in the form of safety of young, distribution of labour, strengthening of altruism, also increased in group – out group distinction and rivalry among different groups. Somewhere along the line we also stupidly started believing in supernatural entities because we could not explain thunder, flowing water, volcanos, rain, lightening etc., This however is a significant step because that was the first attempt by human beings at understanding the surrounding which we found ourselves in.
Because of the advantage large groups provided, we gradually built civilisations and developed scripts for our languages, the advent of the scripts meant an explosion of transmission of ideas from one generation to the next and also from one civilisation to the other. Large civilisations also brought in the necessity to form social structures and need for keeping, the ones that took unfair advantage of the society, in check, so that society as a whole can be peaceful and prosper.
That is where we must start our question of individual, because till this point, individual had no restrictions, it is because of the social structures that we imposed restrictions on some of our freedoms for greater good, the people make a compromise with their freedoms so as to be happy and lead a life of considerable comfort afforded by being a part of the society.
However, with such social structure, the inherent problem of power vested by the people in few individuals to safeguard the society at large started to erode those freedoms not forgone too, the freedom of speech is one such freedom which was never willingly compromised by the individuals but the rulers gradually eroded that and we have the recorded history as a testament to the atrocities committed because of this erosion.
With this background, one must understand the importance of freedom of speech as a guardian against fascism, oligarchy, and dictatorship.
We had no choice in where we were born, nor did we choose our parents or the language, so it becomes imperative to question our loyalties to narrowly defined notions of states and nations particularly blind following of the people who espouse those narrow definitions of nations, language, ideology etc., At the same time, since we find ourselves in a social structure that should enable us to grow to our full potential but fails miserably primarily because of the greed and fascistic thugs that try to erode our freedoms, we must constantly make efforts to better the society we live in, that is our social and moral responsibility.
Recall the opening lines of “Unweaving the Rainbow”, this is the only chance we get to live a life, we must live a meaningful life, a considered life, a person who is not reflective is no better than a tree that stands for a thousand years without much change.
It is you and me in our ordinariness that need to fight the forces that try to divide us, it is our responsibility to bear the burden of protecting freedom of speech and expression against all those that try to take it away from us. Without that fundamental freedom, our societies will not be conducive to humanity.
So it is up to you and me to fight the current attack by the BJP/RSS and Narendra Modi and his thugs.

Rise India and fight for your the most basic and fundamental right, the right to be able to think, the right to be able to speak without the fear of oppression and persecution.

I am Dr Yogesh D, currently a postgraduate in Anatomy, I studied medicine to help the society, and eventually realised the larger social evils that are at the root of the misery of millions, hence decided to pursue a field where I can educate many young people so that the roots of misery, particularly religion and superstition can be eradicated slowly but permanently.  I also intend to pursue a PhD in genetics and neurosciences so that I can do research that will help us understand ourselves better.

Are you a proud Indian yet?

Superstitious India (Image credit, Reuters, and The Citizen)

Welcome to India, where any congenital malformation is de-facto evidence of gods, and be it any animal, including humans with such congenital anomalies and some without are worshiped while the rest are killed for various reasons.
That is how scientifically advanced we are, only thing that was missing was Wi-Fi at railway stations and in villages… we have everything figured out, you know, Vedas they contain all the information you will ever need, with the help of Vedas we will use the internet to download food for our poor people, we will use digital network (and of course cow urine and cow dung) to cure HIV, malnutrition, diabetes, cancers and every other medical illness.
We will hold candle light vigils for gang rape victims, and molest girls who are holding candles next to us.
We are a very tolerant country, you only need to respect our mobs killing those who question our tolerance.
We have a very rich culture, our culture needs protection, how else could one go about witch hunting, widow burning if there is no protection.
We love our Bollywood/Tollywood etc. (Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam) movies which portray young people falling in love and fighting against all odds and the casteist parents and societies to finally win… hey that is only for movies, my daughter is my property, she will marry the guy I, (I mean, our entire family) select for her.
And to top it all, we are a civilized country that has a secular constitution. (Secular stands for those Muslim loving anti-nationals only). We vote on the basis of who bribes us the previous night with some liquor and some money, we want development, so we voted for Modi in the last election, those people saying that in Gujarat the malnourished children outnumber some sub Saharan countries put together are lairs and anti-poor, they are paid by the foreign CIA etc.