Battling Ignorance on the Frontlines Jun11

Battling Ignorance on the Frontlines

  The constitution of this nation states that it is every citizen’s duty to develop scientific temper. Which means that it is every citizen’s duty to pursue the truth using the scientific method, empirically and to make it known to everyone if there is any kind of foul play involved. When a purported ‘miracle’ was investigated by Sanal Edamaruku and shown to be a health hazard to all the people consuming ‘holy water’ that was dripping from a statue in Navi Mumbai because the source of the water was a drainage pipe with stagnant water that had alarmingly high amounts of E.coli in it, he was instantly taken on by the community that had been marketing this incident as a miracle. They hired goons and thugs to threaten him, they filed multiple legal cases against him under the blasphemy law of the country: IPC 295A, an archaic colonial era law that was used to prevent anyone from expressing an opinion contrary to the ruling elite is used nowadays to strong-arm people who have opinions contrary to a majority group, whether it be political, religious or ideological. Sanal was forced to leave the country, for two major reasons, Firstly, because he faced immediate arrest for doing his duty as a citizen of this nation, by exercising and developing ‘scientific temper’ and his skepticism and may even have saved lives, considering that people were going to the extent of drinking this ‘holy water’. Secondly, because his life as well as the lives of his family were being threatened by goons hired by this fanatic organization. I implore you to consider this scenario, consider the fact that in a country of 1.23 billion people, regardless of what one’s opinion is, it will invariably offend at least someone, then does is really make sense to even consider legislatively protecting someone whose views are so feeble that they get offended by the truth? Is it right to force a person who did nothing but ask the organization involved to apologize for perpetrating this hoax (endangering lives in the process) into a self imposed exile? Is it even sane for us to continue with a vestigial law that is a direct reminder of the colonial era when we were subjected to horrendous discrimination based on caste, creed and even skin colour? Now, I dont know if Ive made a convincing argument for the scenario and thus convinced you to see things as I do, but if you have, then I hope that adding a couple of key facts about this story will not change anything. The organisations involved in this particular incident were fanatical Catholic organisations namely the Catholic Secular Forum, the Association of Concerned Catholics and the Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum . I had the honour of meeting Sanal and spending some time with him a while back, a man who had made it his life’s mission to combat superstition and dangerous dogma. He has debunked a number of fraudulent claims and exposed a number of mystics who constantly used to take advantage of the faithful. His life was once threatened by one such charlatan on live television, stating that the man could kill Sanal using his chants alone. The standoff went on with the mystic chanting and Sanal smirking as the country watched that show live. Evidently the supernatural didnt get the memo about helping this mystic out as he made a complete fool of himself. He is the President of the Indian Rationalist Association and currently operates from Helsinki via teleconferencing sessions because of his exile. The point now however is, should we really put up with this nonsense in the name of being politically correct at times and non confrontational at other times when the risks are so high. Is’nt it always better to question one’s motives and be skeptical about everything around us? Question everything, find answers that are sufficiently reasonable and battle...

Misunderstood Homophobes May02

Misunderstood Homophobes

Being a rational -not a known giver of shits- Indian teenager, I sincerely believe that homophobes are mistreated everywhere. I mean, think about those poor people, often criticized for being complete jerks, assholes and other -not so cool- adjectives. What have they done to deserve something like this!? Since when did being stupid become a crime? To be honest, it takes a lot of guts to come out and admit the fact that you are a complete Idiot. I mean, I am an 18 year old Indian student, acing all my subjects, mugging up stuff and vomiting it on my answer papers three times a year and I have not given a single clue to any of my peers or my teachers or my relatives that I am an exceptional Idiot! So, dear Homophobes, I respect the fact that you are not pusillanimous. Homophobes are like misunderstood sharks to be honest. They are just trying to help you. According to them, it is obvious that you choose to hang out with people belonging to your own gender because of the fact that you are not really good at scoring points with the opposite gender. Due to the immense disappointment, you tend to give up any hopes of dating someone “for real” and prefer to stick with other “losers” who can’t score points against the opposite gender. This theory is as accurate as it can get. Take a look at Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen DeGeneres, they are like the biggest examples of being ugly and incapable of dating. They just wish to give you dating lessons so that you stick with the “Laws of nature”. Such nice people. Recently, I was having a discussion with one of my friends regarding this topic and voila! He turned out to be a homophobe! Can you believe this? – I have a friend, who is of my age, living in the same year, same century, same world as I am, yet he is so vintage! Man! he could give instagram some major inferiority complex with his retro-ness. He hates homosexuals. He hates them because he hates Justin Bieber. He hates them because he finds it disgusting when dudes kiss other dudes. He hates them because hot chicks are dating other hot chicks and he is still single. He hates them with a lot of pain and anger. I felt bad for him; but being a very genuine asshole and extremely good at it, I could not feel his feels. I chose to enlighten him with some universal truths instead.Universal truth no. 1 – “Being gay has got nothing to do with being a faggot” (which was shamelessly plagiarized of course) Universal truth no. 2 – “Stop watching gay porn and stop stalking the gay couple living next door” (for the humour)Universal truth no. 3 – “Even if those chicks were straight, you would still be single. You are ugly, just deal with it” (Wiser words were never spoken before)After putting some serious thought into it, for about 5 seconds, he replied “Are you gay bro?” I could see the genuine concern in his voice and that made me happy about the fact that he would still be my friend regardless of my sexual orientation. I was able to enlighten him and he was willing to learn, I did not wish to continue the topic anymore because I figured out that deep down inside, he did not give a shit about gender, love or sexuality. He was worried about bigger problems like getting a real girlfriend and breaking up with his right hand. People are rarely thinking on their own. They are motivated to think freely, but with the society’s permission. There are no homophobes, there are just people who are ignorant, people who prefer playing it safe. People like my friend, people who are essentially nice, but are blinded by the society’s so-called “law of nature”. It is the duty of marginally smarter beings like us, to remind them that there is no “law...