A Message from Narendra Nayak
Narendra Nayak, the successor of Basava Premanand’s legacy of debunking supernaturalist social evils, has set out on a tour of India, training rationalists on how to go about the work of investigating paranormal claims. Narendra’s message follows below.
- 17th November, Chennai – contact person Sridhar -09841362574
- 19th Nov. to 10 December, Tatanagar,Bokaro, Ranchi,Dumri- contact person Sarita Anand: 06572296047 and 09234604282
- 12th December to 17th December, Ghaziabad and Delhi – contact person Zia Khan – tel nos.09312082363 and 09319707892 and P. Bilimale – 09811733378
- 19-22 December, Hyderabad- Babu Gogineni – contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- 23 December-25 December, Thane – contact Rajendra Nayak-022258544378
- 26-28 December, Ratlam – contact Gajendra Singh Rathod – tel no.09424021190
- 29-30 December, Thane – same as during 23-25 December.
- 2nd January, Bangalore – 94482 16343 (my mobile nos.)
- 3rd January-7th January, Babu Gogineni – sames as 19-22 Dec.
- 9th and 10th January, Itarsi- contact Rajesh Parashar-09245310803.
- 11-13th January, Thane – contact Rajendra Nayak same as above.
There will be various programs including training, lectures public funtions etc.
For details, the local organisers have to be contacted. There are 4 training programs in Jhakrhand, 1 at Ghaziabad and 1 at Ratlam.
Presented here is an exchange between Dr. Sreenivasa Murthy and Dr. Narendra Nayak. This exchange recently appeared in the Bangalore Skeptic ezine published by T.V. Manoj.
First, Dr. Sreenivasa Murthy’s Letter:
I am amused at the ‘Poems”(?)!
No one is left to speak for the one who did not speak for others. Very true. How can I speak for the old comrades who ridiculed me because I was born a Hindu (though I did not know what it meant) and forced meat and wine to prove my secularism, for they also knew that I was born aBrahmin. To prove my secularism I was asked to cry out anti-Brahmin slogans. With all that I was denied my position in the pretext of reservation. What do you want a person like me to be? Just speak up only for you? and keep quiet and suffer your ridicule when my brotheren in Kashmir is rotting as a refugee in my own country? Tell me if youspoke a word for him. Even your friends who tried to show pity did putso many tags of buts, ifs and of courses. Of course, you want me to be agood samaritan. I can not ask you to be a good Brahmin for by yourdefinition Brahmin must be debrahminised to be good and secular. But aChristian or a Muslim or a Zionist is naturally good and just and sosecular. I know not the red-(ink) poetry composition. Nor do I carefor it now.
Conversion is a continuous process for me also a non-linear movement.So I choose to stand up and claim with Gopala Krishna Adiga ‘NaanuHindu Naanu BrahmaNa” If you have a right to speak for ‘Christian’ Ihave a right to speak for Hindu. If your sarcasm continues I am afraidyou loose a friend.
–J. Sreenivasa MurthyHead, Department of Sanskrit, MES College, Bengalooru- 560 003
A once born Brahmin replies
Since I have been given the task of reacting to what a Brahmin comrade has written, I have to do that at the risk of losing friends. Born in a family of Gowd Saraswath Brahmins of Mangalore, I may be one. Though the caste in which I was born, regard themselves as Brahmins, many of the ‘purer’ Brahmins do not agree with that. In dining they are permitted to sit under the same roof, but not in the same row- they sit at right angles to those qualified to sit in the same row- not sahapankthi but adda pankthi. In some of the mathas and temples, they are not allowed to eat with the Brahmins at all and have to be content to sit with the large mass of non Brahmins whose contributions are the major part of the income of these institutions! But, since a Brahmin or dwija is twice born I may not qualify for one at all, as I have not submitted myself to any of those rituals which make me one. However, I have not submitted myself to any religious rituals- Brahminical, Islamic, Christian or belonging to any religion so far which could make me just a human being! But under the laws of the land, people like us are considered as Hindus since we are not Muslims, Christians or Parsis.
I was brought up in a community where eating fish was a normal thing and hence probably graduating to larger, more evolved forms of flesh eating was no big deal. No one forced me to eat anything. The only period in my life when I was forced by circumstances to have beef twice a day was at Manipal, where the Shivalli Brahmin hotel was charging a rupee for a fistful of rice,watery sambar and rasam. When I discovered that for the same price I could get a plate of beef, good quantity of rice and vegetables, it was natural that I switch over to that for survival. Many of my friends and relatives were shocked that I was eating beef every day and suggested that I should eat animals other than the mother cow. I did agree with them, but since a plate of mutton with rice was costing twice as much, I asked them to subsidize me to that extent, but none was coming forth- all that I got was a lecture on what a sin eating beef was! It was during those days I really saw the shocking conditions under which daliths lived there which made me align with them, not in hope of any reservation but so that I could join them in their struggles for justice. We did not raise any anti Brahmin slogans, for that was not needed. The daliths figured nowhere in the schemes of the Brahmins. However, in Kasturba Medical College where I did my post graduation in biochemistry, I found that there were reservations- the seats were reserved for the moneyed, the clerical jobs and such were for the upper castes. One category of jobs was fully reserved for daliths- they were the tasks associated with putting cadavers on the dissection tables and then cleaning them up. No Brahmin or any other member of the upper castes objected to that or demanded for reservation there! I was never forced to drink wine, though I have consumed other forms of alcohol without any problems- wine was too sweet, particularly the Goan made port wine and I did not quite like the taste it tasted like draksharishta- a famous Ayurvedic medicine. As for the present I am consuming only beer or vodka, the latter due to my loyalty to the country of its origin- as we are always accused of. But, let all be reminded that when a Brahmin consumes meat or alcohol he is only going back to the good old ancestral traditions, which were rejected after the advent of Jainism and Buddhism. Perhaps those who forced our comrade to do that were religious revivalists who wanted him to go back to his roots. I do hope that having discovered the error of his ways he has gone back to bisi bele bhath, curd rice and such satwik food befitting a Brahmin!
I do quote what Niemöller wrote not out of fondness for Jews or Islamists or Christians but only as an example of what is happening in our country as of now. The fate of Kashmiri Pandiths does come up in my mind. What a sad state for a community whose members have occupied the highest position in this country for many decades- the Kashmiri Pandith founder of the ruling dynasty, his daughter, his grandson, his grand-daughter in law ruling by proxy and probably the great grandson waiting to occupy the chair. Even when the dynasty was not ruling, there were Brahmins in the same chair for most of the time! A very sad thing indeed, that the caste was never helped by their own occupying high positions. Perhaps the in waiting prime ministerial candidate who himself is a displaced person from Pakistan will come to their aid if he manages to grab power!
Well, a Brahmin has to speak up for his kith and kin. Since, he is supposed to be the salt of the earth, the force which causes rotation of the earth, rains on time etc. etc. (to quote Manu, the law giver). The others should consider it their bounden duty to work hard and keep them in good humor so they can carry out the yagas and yagnas which cause these things to happen (again Manu). Since Brahma is invisible his representative the Brahmin should be offered whatever one wants to give to Brahma (Manu). One could go on ad nauseum. I am sorry that I cannot quote the shlokas verbatim as I have been too busy learning languages of man and to pay attention to that of the gods. I do not know Sanskrit, Arabic, Latin or any other languages in which the gods have directly expressed their thoughts. Lest I be accused of extra territorial loyalties I do not know either Russian or Cantonese or Mandarin. But, the daliths need not be spoken for by the Brahmin as they do not count anywhere in the chatur varna system. They are not Hindus except when they get converted to other religions. When they do a big hullabaloo is made and they are converted back into the matra dharma! The spokes persons of Hindus or those who wish to be so could try and make them Brahmins. As said by Gopalakrishna Adiga, ‘Naanu Hindu Naanu brahmana’ we could say ‘naanu matra dharmakke maralida hindu naanu brahmana’. Let us see how many Brahmanas are willing to accept that. Last week in Kerala some youth who were trained to utter shlokas, examined by Brahmins and were then awarded certificates to conduct rituals according to Hindu rites. There was an agitation by Brahmins who objected to the violations of traditions! Well, so much for merit. When competitive examinations for all castes will be conducted and the best candidate made heads of the mathas then we could accept the rights of the Brahmin to be the spokes person of Hindus! When all the priestly positions are reserved for the twice born how can one speak up against caste based reservations and talk of merit?
Finally friends, it is not the color of the ink that matters or the color of the flag or its shape. It could be red, green or saffron. It is the attitude of the mind that is the most important and the willingness to concede equality. Quoting Kuvempu:
‘Gudi churchu masidigala bittu hora banni
Badatanava buda mutta keela banni
Maudhyatheya maariyannu hora dudalai tanni
Vigyana divigeya hidiya banni, o banni sodarare bega banni’
Loosely translated this means:
Get out of the temples, churches mosques
Let us pluck out poverty from its very roots
Push out the evils of superstitions
Hold the torch of science, brothers come quickly for the task.
Finally quoting Edmund Burke the eminent parliamentarian and M.K. Gandhi, the former said all that is needed for the dark forces of evil to take over this world is enough number of good people who want to nothing. The latter has said that bowing to the forces of injustice and violence is cowardice. Whether we are Hindu, Muslim, Christian or human does not matter. We have been guilty of bowing to such forces. Let us get over that. Vande mataram!
Dr. Narendra Nayak is the president of The Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations.