Vijayawada

‘Need to educate youth on rationalism’

Maharashtra Andhshraddha Nirmoolan Samiti chairman Avinash Patil says killing of writer Narendra Dabholkar has made rationalists more determined to promote scientific temper.—Photo: V. Raju  

“Blessed with a large youth population, India will grow younger by 2020 and we have the responsibility to educate the younger lot on the need to create a rationalist society,” said Avinash Patil, chairman of Pune-based Maharashtra Andhshraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), here on Wednesday.

Speaking on ‘The Necessity of Scientific Outlook and Secularism’, the theme of the 9{+t}{+h}World Atheist Conference which was kicked off at Siddhartha Auditorium in city, Mr. Patil stressed the need to prevent exploitation of the gullible public steeped in superstition.

“Any amount of efforts to eradicate the age-old societal ills of blind beliefs cannot be achieved until effective decisions are taken at the policy-making level and these important aspects are included in school curriculum,” he said. Mr. Patil, who was also a close associate of writer and anti-superstition activist the late Narendra Dabholkar who was killed in Maharashtra, said religious fundamentalists were under wrong notion that they could demoralise the rationalists’ brigade by killing their leader. “In fact, it has united us into a force to reckon with and we are more determined than ever to take forward our mission of promoting scientific temper,” he announced amidst applause.

Referring to the anti-superstition Act originally drafted by Mr. Dabholkar, who was the founder of MANS, Mr. Patil said it was the first of its kind law brought in to protect people from social ills.

Scientific outlook

Chancellor of Periyar Maniammai University, Tamil Nadu, K. Veeramani, in his inaugural address, said atheists were working to unify people across the world. In the evening session, humanist from Hyderabad Babu Gogineni spoke on ‘Why Secularism?”. A screening of ‘The Big Question with Babu Gogineni’ on the theme ‘Hands that help are far better than lips that pray’ was shown.

Seeking to set the records straight, Mr. Gogineni said it was Robert Ingersoll, the freethinker and humanist from America, who first said these lines. Many attribute this quote to Mother Teresa who was born much after this was said by Ingersoll, he reiterated.

Narendra Nayak, president of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, spoke on ‘modern superstitions’ that are ‘invading our lives.

Volker Mueller, president, Freethinker Association, Germany, Robert Rustad of Norwegian Humanist Association, German Member of Parliament Alfred Harald Petzold, Hasil Gora and Vikas Gora, chairperson Atheist Centre, Vijayawada J. Mythri, American Atheists Texas Aron Ra, Balwinder Barnala and Harchand Singh Bhinder of Tarksheel Society, Punjab, Samir a Runja from SHETH D.L. Law College, Bhuj, Gujarat, Rustum Singh from American Atheists and a host of others participated.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 2:49:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/%E2%80%98Need-to-educate-youth-on-rationalism%E2%80%99/article13985962.ece

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