A Report on the Bengaluru Freethinkers’ Meet
The meetup on October 2nd happened at Café Coffee Day Square on Vittal Mallya Road. It was special on a lot of counts:
It wasn’t admin initiated. A member put up a request, along with a date and an explanation as to why it would be feasible to meet on a public holiday. There was a lot of member interest.
- Even at the incredibly short notice of a day’s time, about 12 people turned up.
- The group laid out concrete plans for some community service activities, in both the long and short term.
We kicked off the meet by talking about a community service program scheduled on October 5th: Signing up for organ donor cards, and donating blood to a hospital. There was a lot of interest for both activities, but the discussion continued from there to matters of social and familial stigmatization with regards to such practices.
Inevitably, the course of that discussion led us to talk about educational reforms. Everyone agreed that there wasn’t enough being done with regards to inclusion of gender and sex education, formal logic, and other such basic non-academic learning in schools. It was this line of banter that led the members to agree upon working on a talk aligned with any one of Nirmukta’s core principles – Science, Freethought, and Secular Humanism, based on their own interest. It was agreed that by mid-November, each of us would have more than a skeletal framework of the talk we intend to give at schools, depending on the interest shown by institutions.
Some members stressed the importance of telling teenage children about the stereotype threat, the rigidity and archaic nature of gender roles, and the ways in which these factors impact us in our lives. Some others thought all children that age should be acquainted with basic logical reasoning, the types of logical fallacies, and learning better ways to think and formulate arguments.
It was a promising start to what will hopefully be a spate of other such programs that will account for a more pleasant future.