Tag Archives: atheism

Picking Humanity Over Religion: A Small but Critical Step

The idea of education being imparted without any compulsion to declare one’s religion is definitely a welcome thing

Bethune_College_Kolkata

Principal’s office of Bethune College, Kolkata, which included Humanity as an option under the religion category. Image Courtesy: college dunia

 

A college admission form introducing new options under ‘religion’? Talking about humanity, secular, non-religious, atheism!

Well, in an ambience loaded with religiosity and its increasing conflation with the State, it is rather difficult to believe that some colleges may take such a creative step to convey how they see what is happening around them? No doubt this is a small step but, as noted by analysts, this is an attempt to break/challenge the ‘construction of identity, thought and social and political space, indirectly conveying the vision of a secular and diverse India.’

The significance of this little step can be better understood if one looks into the fact that the elections held to the 17th Lok Sabha — which has returned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power — have demonstrated that BJP is ‘the most preferred party of young India’. It drew support cutting across caste as well as class lines. This is the same BJP which, along with its ‘Parivar’ siblings, has consciously tried to conflate religion with exercise of power and has been successful in collapsing the majority faith into rabid nationalism that targets differences and dissent and other specific groups, as the ‘other’ according to its worldview.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/Religion-Humanity-College-Admissions-BJP-School-Education)

Public Burdens of Religion and the Lightness of Atheism : Sanjay Kumar

Guest Post by Sanjay Kumar

Death evokes strongest of human emotions. However, exploring and finding reasons behind a death is also part of our humanity. Legal codes in all countries demand criminal investigations of deaths due to the so called ‘unnatural’ causes. Medical sciences have advanced largely due to explorations of the other, ‘natural’ causes of death. Deaths due to completely avoidable reasons fall in a category of their own. How a society deals with such deaths is a good indicator of how it treats its living.

One hundred and eight people died in an explosion during a fire cracker festival in a temple in Kollam, Kerala on 10th April. According to reports, the district administration had not given permission for the event, citing hazards of firing crackers close to a densely populated area, and the fact that the fire cracking festivities were actually in the form of a competition. Yet, pressure from the powerful temple trust meant that the programme was held amid full police presence. The accident happened in one of the better governed states of India, which also boasts of a vigilant citizenry. Continue reading Public Burdens of Religion and the Lightness of Atheism : Sanjay Kumar

That Elusive Thing with Feathers – After the Killing of Avijit Roy: Abdul Bari

Guest Post by ABDUL BARI

Avijit Roy was brutally murdered in Dhaka a few days ago. His wife, after heroically trying to shield his person with her own body, now lies in an ICU bed, fighting for her life.  I was an infrequent visitor to his website, Muktomona. Visiting it was like running your tongue over that tooth you’re missing, or reflexively checking whether you had your keys with you in the morning. Its presence was a reminder that, no matter how circumscribed, the nation-state of Bangladesh still had men and women who liked to think unconventional thoughts; give expression to unpopular ideas; endeavored to stand, as it is, in the very edge of what the societal limit of what could be expressed, and then take another firm step, not back, but forward. Continue reading That Elusive Thing with Feathers – After the Killing of Avijit Roy: Abdul Bari

A poem for Rafida Ahmed Banna – Avijit Roy’s Partner: Irfanul Rahman Rafin

Guest Post by Irfanul Rahman Rafin, translated from Bengali

[ Kafila normally does not carry poetry. But sometimes we make an exception, and we are making one in the case of this tribute by Irfanul Rahman Rafin, dedicated to Rafida Ahmed Banna, Bangladeshi blogger and partner of Avijit Roy, the Bangladeshi-American writer and blogger who was attacked and killed by Islamist thugs while the couple were on their way back from the Dhaka Book Fair. Roy wrote regularly on the Bangla blog Mukto Mona, and had written several books about religious belief, doubt, homosexuality and other issues. He had recieved death threats from Islamist groups in Bangladesh in the recent past. Roy is not the only blogger, writer and intellectual to have been attacked in this way. Last year, Ahmed Rajib Haider, another blogger opposed to Islamic fundamentalism, was hacked to death in February by a gang of Islamist thugs.

Hundreds of people have come out in protest against the killing of Avijit Roy in Dhaka. The killings of Avijit Roy and Rajib Haider mirror the assasinations of Narendra Dabholkar, and only recently, of Govind Pansare, in India by Hindu Fundamentalist thugs. ]

Avijit Roy and Rafida Ahmed Banya
Avijit Roy and Rafida Ahmed Banna

Sister Banna, listen
by Irfanur Rahman Rafin (translated from Bengali)

I don’t have the words to beg forgiveness
But something still has to be said
So I whisper in your ear sister Banna
Seven brothers still stand by Parul

I know some will say it was atheism
I will say he was child of my mother
We will see if they or Nazrul was right
Those who claim divinity to take life

Do not believe their prophecies
Those who play games with corpses
The war began with bullets and fire
Bringing white shrouds to each home

In this land nobody’s life has value
I know blood flows equally for all
But sister Banna listen to these words
Even the hardest heart cries out today

February 28, 2015

বন্যাদি তুমি শোনো

ক্ষমা চাইবার ভাষা নেই আজ কোনো
কিছু একটা তো বলতেই হয় তাই
কানে কানে বলি বন্যাদি তুমি শোনো
বোন পারুলের পাশে জেগে সাত ভাই

জানি কেউ কেউ বলবে সে নাস্তিক
আমি বলে দেবো সন্তান মোর মা’র
দ্যাখা যাবে তারা নাকি নজরুল ঠিক
খুন করে যারা নিয়ে নেয় দায়ভার

তুমি বিশ্বাস করো না ওদের বাণী
লাশ নিয়ে যারা পাশা খেলে অগোচরে
বুলেট আর আগুন নিয়ে যেই হানাহানি
সফেদ কাফন নিয়ে আসে ঘরে ঘরে

জীবনের দাম এই দেশে কারো নেই
কোনো রক্তই বেশি লাল নয় জানি
তবু বন্যাদি তুমি শোনো আজ এই
দেশে পাষাণেরও চোখ জুড়ে আছে পানি

ফেব্রুয়ারি ২৮, ২০১৫

I am a Muslim, an Atheist, an Anarchist: Salmaan Mohammed

Guest Post by Salmaan Mohammed

[ Salmaan Mohammed, a twenty five year old philosophy student was arrested in Thiruvananthapuram on 19 August 2014 for sedition, and for allegedly dishonouring the national flag and national anthem. The complaint against him originated as a response to his refusing to stand while the national anthem was played in a cinema during a screening. Salman is currently out on bail, but still faces the prospect of a life term in prison if he is found guilty of sedition by the judicial process. We at Kafila have been in touch with Salman and he has recently sent us a translation of an audio interview he did after coming out of prison on bail so that the world outside Kerala (and those who do not read or speak Malayalam) can understand what he has been thinking.]

Continue reading I am a Muslim, an Atheist, an Anarchist: Salmaan Mohammed

On A Prayer and a Petition: Babu Gogineni

This is a guest post by BABU GOGINENI

“What exactly happened, and what gave you the strength to fight your case, Mr. Salve?” I asked. “Your job as an English teacher was at risk, and your own colleagues shunned you. You are from the Dalit community, and you live in Maharashtra state where militant religion has frequently silenced dissenters – how could you hold out for 7 years?” Continue reading On A Prayer and a Petition: Babu Gogineni