P Z Myers recently wrote a post-mortem on “New” Atheism of USA. Reading that I realised what happened in my own state of Kerala in India was very similar, though late by few years.
Excitement is rising among Freethinkers of Kerala, India as the two day event that brings together the humanist Freethinkers of the state for an intellectual feast is fast approaching.
Organised under the aegis of “Freethinkers” Facebook group and Kerala Freethinkers Forum the Freethinkers meet 2017 is scheduled for April 22 and 23 at Vyloppilli Samskrithi Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram.
Last year the Police department in Kerala state of India started a “Pink Beat Patrol” for enhancing the safety for women and children in public places. The Pink Beat included specially trained women police personnel. These police personnel was supposed to patrol on Govt run bus services and private stage carriers and was to be present at bus stops, schools, colleges and other public places. They were supposed to assist women, children and senior citizens travelling on buses. They were supposed to prevent street sexual harassment. These patrol vehicle was led by a women police officer and had two other women police personnel.
Unfortunately this laudable attempt to prevent infringement of human rights of women is having the opposite effect. Several reports had come out which point towards moral policing by the Pink Police.
In our new clinic there is a sign board like this.
Kozhikode (Calicut) hosted the seventh edition of Kerala’s Queer Pride parade on this Friday amidst a riot of colours and music.
May be for the first time in its history a member of Kerala’s legislative assembly, Congress leader V.T Balram inaugurated the Queer parade.
The parade loudly proclaimed the rights of LGBTQ community to live a normal and peaceful life in India, a country were homosexuality is still a criminal act.
The parade also protested Dalit oppression and use of pellet guns in Kashmir.
I have heard several stories about how difficult it is to get out the clutches of church for a nun. Here is a new one from Kerala, India.
Sr Mary Sebastian, 45 years, has been serving the Catholic Church for last 25 years. Due to repeated mental and even physical abuses and frequent transfer of posting she became fed up with her job.
Female attendees are very few in atheist meetings in Kerala. Many concerned male atheists are thinking deep about the reasons for lack of participation of females in their “noble” ventures. They are also very concerned about lack of support for male atheist activists from their wives.
An upcoming writer was brutally assaulted in Kerala, India yesterday. It happened near my place around 40 miles from here. Twenty six years old P Jimshar was waiting for bus at the bus stop in Kootanad. An unknown person started a pleasant conversation with him. Few others joined and suddenly they began beating him. Luckily they did not had any weapons. Though severely beaten he survived without any critical injuries.
Diphtheria is coming back with vengeance in parts of Asia where it had been well controlled. Malaysia and Vietnam has reported several cases of Diphtheria in last two months along with Kerala state in south India. There has been 5 deaths in Malaysia, 3 in Vietnam and 2 in Kerala. Both in Kerala and Malaysia, adults some as old as 65, are among suspected cases.
All three areas had similarly good control of Diphtheria for several years now , with only a handful of cases yearly and no deaths. In Malaysia and Kerala, religion based superstitions about vaccinations was found to be a major driving factor for poor vaccination coverage and there by reemergence of the disease. In Vietnam too, the propagation of myths about vaccines has reduced its acceptance.
This week-end saw medical students of Kerala’s medical colleges on a campaign trail. They were at the epicentre of anti vaccine campaign in the state, in the rural areas of Malappuram District.
They were at Tanalur, a place near Tirur. People here are fairly prosperous and well-educated. But they feel vaccines are bad for their kids. Here the percentage of children fully vaccinated was well under fifty percent. The families here used to close their doors at health workers who come to their homes urging them to vaccinate.
Some believe naturopath quacks when they say taking vaccines and preventing “harmless” diseases is anti nature. Others believe their political leaders who say vaccines are an imperialist conspiracy to produce sterility in the third world population. Many believe their religious scholars who tell them that Allah is giving complete protection from the womb itself and humans trying to usurp him is not only absurd but against “god”. There are also other allegations against vaccines like they are produced from pig meat and they result in paralysis and mental retardation. In several families, women who wanted their kids to be protected by vaccines had to face tough resistance from men.