Sanal Edamaruku talks to Arun George about the murder of Narendra Dabholkar.
The murder of noted anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar in broad daylight in Pune not only highlights the risk a rationalist faces in the country, but according to some like activist Sanal Edamaruku, it should serve as encouragement to others to take up his cause.
“He was one of the most wonderful soldiers of rationalism in Maharashtra because he was taking the movement down to the villages on one side and the legislature on the other,” Edamaruku told Firstpost.
Edamaruku may be right. Sometimes an assassination or an attempted assassination does inspire others to take up the cause. That’s happened with Malala Yousafzai, for example. It’s much too stiff a price to pay, though.
During the course of his battle against superstition, Dabholkar had received many threats from various groups but had never allowed it to deter him. Edamaruku, the president of an organisation called the Indian Rationalist Association, says the threats usually come from those who are perpetrating superstitions and other beliefs.
It’s a nice racket for them; they don’t want people messing it up.
“It is not the victims of superstition who are normally against rationalists but the exploiters who are using superstition and are using the gullibility of people, they are the ones against us,” Edamaruku said.
He said the persecution rationalists faced only encouraged them to continue to battle harder against it.
However, successes are few. Edamaruku pointed out that Dabholkar’s mission — the anti-superstition bill — had been significantly watered down and had still not been passed by the Maharashtra legislation.