Tag Archives: rationalism

Public Display of Faith Can Wait, Humanity Cannot

It is inevitable that the virus will spread anywhere people gather in numbers.

Faith in India

Representational Image

India went for the world’s toughest lockdown in March, when just about 500 Covid-19 cases had been reported. And it has started withdrawing the lockdown when India has become the seventh-worst pandemic-affected nation, with over 1.91 lakh infections and close to 5,500 deaths. India is registering giant spikes in active cases of Covid-19, but the home ministry has come out with a phased plan to unlock India. The current phase of re-opening will focus on the economy. It has been decided that malls, hotels, restaurants and places of worship will reopen from 8 June onwards.

Concerns over the economic downturn are understandable. The latest GDP data shows the slowest pace of growth in 11 years in the last quarter of 2019-20, and the economy has been hit hard by the Covid-inspired sudden and complete lockdown. But one fails to understand the decision to open religious places at such an early date.

It remains unanswered whether religious places are being thrown open to pre-empt Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, who has announced that her state would open all places of worship from 1 June. It is also not known whether this is being done, as BS Yediyurappa, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, wrote in his letter to the Prime Minister, because devotees are insisting that religious sites be opened.

( Read the full article here )

Mainstream Myths Versus Scientific Collaboration

The rediscovery of scientific collaboration across borders is a welcome development.

Fake News on COVID

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

– Marie Curie.

Does the 5G network have any link to the novel corona-virus outbreak?”

Well, any sane person on this part of Earth would readily laugh at this outrageous claim. But this claim has “gone mainstream” leading even to bomb attacks on phone masts. So one has to sit up and analyse.

No doubt, when “psychological states peak and people’s anxiety levels are high,” as one expert puts it, one can easily become prey to such conspiracy theories. And as right-wing or conservative ideas have growing legitimacy in society, things can get even worse. Remember how for a long time Iran’s theocracy was in denial about the Corona-virus threat?

India is no exception to such false claims. All sorts of home remedies are being offered as a definite cure to the disease. We saw Gomutra parties where cow urine was drunk, supposedly as protection from this highly-contagious disease which has taken more than 100,000 lives and infected more than 1.7 million. No doubt it is an arduous task for progressives to counter all the rubbish being peddled around the pandemic and prepare people to take proper care while pressurising the powers-that-be to make public health a priority.

Such struggles can be better fought if individual scientists or groups of scientists join hands to sensitise and educate people.

The recent launch of a pan-institutional CovidGyan website (https://covid-gyan.in/) which is a brainchild of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) is a welcome step in this direction. Other key members of this initiative include Vigyan Prasar, IndiaBioscience, and the Bangalore Life Science Cluster (BLiSC, which comprises InStem and C-CAMP, in addition to NCBS-TIFR).

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/Mainstream-Myths-Versus-Scientific-Collaboration)

Statement Against Prof. Kalburgi’s Murder: Academics for Democracy, Chennai

The following statement against the murder of Professor Kalburgi was issued by Academics for Democracy, a forum of academics based in Chennai.

As a group of academics and scientists who are involved in various ways towards promotion of democratic values, we wish to condemn the murder of Prof. M. M. Kalburgi, who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on August 30th , in strongest possible terms.

Prof. Maleshappa Madivalappa is a well known writer in Kannada and a former Vice Chancellor of Hampi university, who  raised his voice against religious malpractices and superstitious ideas on several different occasions. He is an authority on vachana sahitya, whose collection of research articles titled Marga were academically acclaimed. He was awarded the Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award in 2006 for Marga. Continue reading Statement Against Prof. Kalburgi’s Murder: Academics for Democracy, Chennai