When freethinkers agreed to disagree over politics

Two groups organised separate events in Kozhikode on Sunday, and what set them apart was their stand on certain current political issues

November 06, 2022 08:38 pm | Updated 08:38 pm IST - Kozhikode

A freethinker is ‘someone who rejects accepted opinions, especially those concerning religious belief’.

Two groups of activists espousing this line of thought organised separate events at two places in Kozhikode city on Sunday, and what set them apart was their stand on certain current political issues.

While the Yukthivadi Sanghom held a seminar titled ‘Fanos’ with eight sessions at the Kozhikode Town Hall, esSENSE Global organised their event titled ‘Vibgyor 22’ with multiple sessions at the EMS Hall at Mukkom. Speakers such as C. Viswanathan and E.A. Jabbar were featured at the town hall event and C. Ravichandran and Arif Hussain, among others, participated in sessions at Mukkom.

The differences, however, were in their approach to right-wing political views, with the Sanghom camp accusing the other group of discreetly espousing the Hindutva ideology. The session addressed by Dr. Viswanathan was titled ‘Hindu, Hindutva and atheism’, which dealt with the “problems of reading Hindu, Hindutva along with atheism”. One of the organisers told The Hindu that people such as Mr. Ravichandran, through their public speeches and others, were championing the cause of what he called ‘Savarkarite atheism’ or the anti-religious views of V.D. Savarkar, the proponent of Hindutva. They also pointed out that atheists or rationalists should not allow themselves to be appropriated by the Sangh Parivar.

M. Riju, one of the functionaries of esSENSE Global, refused to comment on the issue.

Sources in the organisation, however, said that the pro-Sangh branding was unfair. “We are not accusing anybody of any political leaning. We are against hate politics, whether it is the Taliban or the Sangh Parivar. Ultimately, it boils down to individuals and how they become slaves of certain ideologies,” they said. They claimed that the pro-Sangh Parivar branding followed their criticism of Communism. “Since we criticise Islam and Communism, both the Leftists and political Islamists accuse us of being soft towards the Sangh Parivar,” they added.

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