The Fate of A Rationalist in Our Tradition of Convenience

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If you are reading this, please call yourself a rationalist. Can’t you do this small sacrifice when a government representing 112 million people could claim in a matter of hours promulgating an ordinance for enacting the Maharashtra Eradication of Blind Faith Bill? They could choose the occasion of the death of a person who lived for the cause as a strong reason to strengthen their theory of deductive philosophy, Rationalism.

Trivia would be that Dr. Narendra Dabholkar at the age of 68 could inspire confidence of many in his state to fight against the traditions of black magic and superstitions. Leaving his lucrative medical profession, he chose to fight against these menaces similar to the way many European rationalists fought, even to their bitter ends, before centuries ago. Well, everybody cannot be a Jean-Baptiste Biot of France, who suggested to believe that appearance of meteorites was not a divine phenomenon; nor Maharashtra government can play a Napoleon Bonaparte of our time (referring to the limited goodness of the Emperor though). But you cannot blame the government. With a jerky mind, playing footsie with both right and left political mindsets, they live in constant fear of both majority and minority. Secularism demands that you must not antagonize your voters even if you are shipping them in a Titanic. Well, nationalists could not have done otherwise as they hinge onto our traditions by interpreting it to their convenience. They slither away at the sight of the killing of a modern-day Ram by a bunch of cowardly Ravans.

Why was he killed? This doctor not only believed that black Babas were fake when they displayed their divine tantrum, he also tried to make others believe the same. You may ask where the evidence about his belief is, and how his belief can be accepted as rational. You may also argue, it is another matter that his death preceded the news of sexual assault on a minor devotee by Sri Asaramji Bapu, again a Baba against whom Dr. Dabholkar had campaigned over misusing drinking water for Holi in Nagpur a few months earlier. Well, the doctor was not thoughtful when a grass-root politician, the esteemed Deputy Chief Minister of the State, could offer his urine as a solution to the water problem in the drought-ridden region a couple of weeks later.

Why have we grown so insane? Why do we surrender to the hallucinations of these Babas? Can we rationally consume all material outcomes of science and technology on one hand, and still refuse to believe in the fundamentals of the same civilizational discourse in the name of our traditions?

Perhaps, we can. As long as it is convenient to us. We, rationalists, use the evidence of convenience to establish our superstitions as the part of our rational nature. We still believe that a glimpse of a meteorite brings luck to us. More rational friends of ours popularise this through their movies too. Kudos!

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