Going Against Ignorance Sep02

Going Against Ignorance

It is a weird world we live in, it is a weird set of people whom we share this world and it is a weird set of philosophies that we live with. Sometimes you see a something that gives you renewed hope in humanity, but many a times it is exasperation and futility that digitally scroll in front of our eyes. We live on the third, blue planet from the Sun, which is a spec on the second arm of the small Milkyway Galaxy: A tiny spec in the vast cosmic ocean. But as Carl Sagan said: “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself”. We are part of such a wondrous event, our cells are made of atoms that were made in super novas, our life a unique celebration of the coming together of what may have been multiple galaxies and multiple stars. We breathe the same air that passed through the lungs of every animal that lived before us, we share the same tree of life. ( Yes, I saw Cosmos: A Space Time Odessey )  When I learn about the cosmos, its power and what it is, I was filled with wonder. A wonder that I could not contain, a wonder that makes me feel like a child learning to walk, a wonder that makes me a voracious consumer of information, a wonder that truly makes me happy  for living here at this age. Where science is reaching a stage if infinite wonders. Science makes me feel wonderful. It tells me that I am awesome and I am a unique universe in myself. We read about anti-vaxxers, salt-in-sea-whale-spermers, moon-landing-hoaxers and suddenly our world appears less bright, our achievements seem less poignant, our lives become less meaningful, the wonders seems to shine less. You cannot know everything about everything in this world. It is a fact, we do not have the time in this world for that, yet. One life time is not enough to consume the knowledge that we have uncovered over the last few hundred years. This was the time of enlightenment. When the human race got out of the shackles of mythology and supernaturalism, to step into a world of knowledge, light, proofs and logic. Becoming rational being, applying ones own thought on topics, proving them wrong or supporting them with new evidence. The gaps where gods could hide became smaller, and smaller, to a point that any mathematician would say, this gaps wont exists for more time. Gods of weather are a thing of the past, gods for crops and harvests turned into fertilizers and farming. Gods that guarded the sea became GPS and Satellites. These were all attributed to god or gods. Their gods exist in mysteries and when there are no mysteries, they decide to call certain things mysteries and be happy in their claps and hymns. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Oh12ROTQCE] People do not believe in climate change, people do not believe in Big Bang, people do not believe in evolution. Things like these, don’t need belief. They are true and has evidence to prove it to be true. That is why we go Against Ignorance.   “Nothing is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious...

Physics, Biology, Chemistry and “Shastra” Sep02

Physics, Biology, Chemistry and “Shastra”

I am from a country which cleanly has a convoluted and mistaken idea about what is “Science”. It has all to do with what is being called as “Shastra”, a word that denotes “Science” among other things. But then when we consider all the “other things” that “Science” is involved  in India, I guess the actual Science takes a step back. Here, Palmistry is a Shastra. So is Panch-Pakshi Shastra ( it has something to do with some , “Astro Stellar force of an individual” , which I cant associate to any known form of force that human beings can physically conceive. ) Then there are Parrot toting astrologers, (another link ) they can predict future from the tarot cards picked up by parrots. In a country where cows are holy, I guess this is pretty common. Astrology is considered as a science. Even when educated people consider Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Pluto ( is there Pluto ? ) to affect a man’s life. And also his wife. I just saw a book called “Biorhythms of the Natal Moon”, Biorhythm? Natal Moon? pseudo-science, meaningless words to impress the poor guy who sees such big words and falls for it. Here is the link to the book, and here is the description. The system is unfailing as sit is based on natural laws of five elements (Pancha Mahabhutas) combined with astro-stellar force of each individual.This can be successfully applied in all matters of life in the fields of Horary, Electional, Medical Astrology and especially on Natal  Astrology. What a load of nothing, reading all this is like listening to a Homeopathy doctor who keep on saying.. nothing. Pseudo-Science, Alternative Medicines. In this country, everything is a science, Vasthu Shastra ( It is the metaphysical plan of a building that incorporates the course of the heavenly bodies and supernatural forces. Meta physical plan of a building? Incorporate heavenly bodies and Supernatural forces? ), A  non-Indian “Shastra”, they call it “Pranic Healing® is a highly developed and tested system of energy energy medicine “. ( What is it? Pranic Healing® is applied on the bio-electromagnetic field known as the aura, or energy body, which is a mold or blueprint that surrounds and interpenetrates the physical body. This energy body absorbs life energy and distributes it throughout the physical body, to the muscles, organs, glands, etc. Bio-electromagnetic field? and the rest of it? A load of mind boggling trash.). When all these are called Shastra, along with Physics, Chemistry and Biology, what we have done is create a pseudo sense of authenticity for the “Indian/Non-Indian Shastras”. This pseudo-authenticity is utilized by the “doctors/practitioners” to make money, and get themselves some respectability.  Common misconceptions about “Shastra” give rise to a new generation of people who believe all Shastras are authentic. If anyone has to know what Indian Shastra’s are, check up on Koka Shastra. The real scientists, try to explain Science in simple words, for the common man to understand. Stephen Hawking did not write “A Brief History of Time” to be read by scientists. Richard Dawkins explained evolutionary biology to the common man in The Blind Watchmaker, The Selfish Gene, The Greatest Show on Earth and the rest. How to understand real Science? The one that is said by Dawkins, Hawking, Weinberg makes science simple, they tell things in very simple language,  while all this other “Shastra” scientists make complicated big words to explain what they want to say. Making “Astro Stellar, Bio-electromagnetic, Biorhythm, Memory of Water ( Homeopathy ) etc, sound like things you should know about. But actually , they are collection of words are meaningless. Next time someone tells something like this, Ask them, what is that thing and can I see it and is there proof. I guess, you just got to look at the face of the “Scientist”. On a side note, I have not seen any reason why all the astrologers are not...

I AM PROUD TO SAY, MY GRANDSON IS GAY Jan02

I AM PROUD TO SAY, MY GRANDSON IS GAY

It was the eve of Delhi Queer Pride parade, 2010. My home seemed like a madhouse. I live in a joint family and that night, we were double the number with my cousins, aunts and uncles who I had invited for a family dinner. I had intimated everyone well in advance and had plans to talk to them about gender and sexuality, and how these come to be experienced in a Punjabi middle class family. Most of the male relatives took a lot of time to come to terms with my sexuality. But it was worth all the effort. It has been four years since I came out to my mom. I was 17 then. The time since then has seen a series of battles with ignorance and hatred; and now, I can finally see glimmers of realization and love. Back in 2007, when I came out to my mom, I knew that I had to exit the narrow and dark roads, and open myself to a massive exploration of my life. But having seen my heroes fight for their rights at the forefront over the years, I became determined. All those activists, writers, filmmakers, lawyers and many other everyday heroes, gave and continue to give strength and messages of hope to middle class guys like me who often come from very conservative households. I live in Kashmeri Gate, in old Delhi, among about 20-25 other joint families that have managed to survive over the years. People tend to get deceived by the appearance of the place and think it’s a slum, when it in fact one of the more economically developed places in old Delhi. Another advantage is its proximity to the metro service. Which takes me back to 29th November, 2010, the day of the Pride. My brother was away on a road trip with his girlfriend so we didn’t have our car. My mother suggested we take the metro. I looked at the painted banners and placards we were carrying for the parade, and then looked at her in open-mouthed disbelief. ‘So what?’ she said. ‘They are going to stare right? Let them. For years I have seen people struggling to change our society for the better and, like you told me, this is no small cause.’ Left astonished, I simply nodded and said ‘yes Mom, you’re absolutely right’. It was a little difficult for my grandmother as she is really old, but on the eve of the parade, I remember listening to her talk to the rest of the family about the relevance of participating in the Pride parade. I can’t describe the joy I felt, at witnessing such a revolutionary and drastic change that night in my own family. It makes me think about how far we have come in these four years. Earlier, on hearing homophobic comments, I would argue for myself, but now, my family steps ahead. It is they who support me and defend my right to live the way I want to; they understand my sexuality and slowly and steadily, they are coming to terms with it. A lot was decided that night itself—who were the courageous ones, or shall I say the activist kind in my family, who would come forward and participate at the Pride event the next day. Upon which, my grandmother was disappointed to see that it was only my mom and my cousins and herself.  My brother wanted to come but he couldn’t because he wanted to celebrate his girlfriend’s birthday in the hills. So, I was okay with that.  Besides, I still remember that moment in 2009, when the Delhi High court had passed the landmark judgment; we had assembled at Jantar Mantar after a year to celebrate one year and my brother came there and supported me. My grandmother is an old but energetic and fierce woman. She has taught me a great...

Oh Right, Gay Rights Aug02

Oh Right, Gay Rights

It is a funny thing, the human intellect. The same person who would discuss Non Newtonian Fluids with you, in the same breath would go all conspiratorial and say ” Pssst, I think he is gay”. It does put things into perspective. We live in an age were sexual orientation or sexual preferences get as much screen time as real actual news and real actual science. How many movie stars were purported to be gay? That in itself tells us that people are really interested in what other people (whom they don’t even know) do in their sexual lives. Sit back for a moment. Just think, just imagine what exactly may be going through a person’s mind when they talk about the sexual orientation of another person. I have been asked “can you imagine him putting his thing into him”.  No I can’t. More to the point, I do not want to imagine where they or whoever puts their whatever.  But by that theory, conversely, if such a thought is used to judge a gay couple, does that mean that you can imagine what people whom you know who are straight do with their genitalia?  How perverted can you be, if you need to imagine where people put their sexual organs so that you can approve of another person’s relationship.  This need for people to pry into another person’s sexuality brings out the most contemptible aspect of man. A need to create a society were everyone has to approve of another person’s most private aspect of life. A need for people to conform to the narrow-mindedness of a set of people who put themselves on pedestals fuelled by the imagined power of religion or politics. I have heard from my friends who are gay about how...

HUMANISTS IN FORT KOCHI Jul02

HUMANISTS IN FORT KOCHI

The echoes are still there, when we called out for supporters of Humanity and Equal Rights and Kochi responded like never before. More than 40 people joined up to rock Fort Kochi for an impromptu...