Basava Premanand

Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Basava Premanand (17 February 1930 – 4 October 2009) was an eminent skeptic and rationalist from Kerala, India.



Premanand was born on 17 February 1930 in Kozhikode, Kerala. His parents were followers of the Theosophical movement.

In the 1940s, Premanand quit school to take part in Quit India Movement. With that ended his traditional schooling. His next seven years were spent in newly started Sri-Steila Gurukula, where the Shantiniketan-Wardha brand of education was imparted.[1]

Around 1975 Premanand started publicly denouncing the Indian “godman”, Sathya Sai Baba, and devoted his life to expose “godmen” and so-called paranormal phenomena.[2] Premanand used his skills as an amateur magician to give a natural explanation of the alleged miracles of gurus and godmen. “Guru Busters”,[3] the documentary by the British film maker Robert Eagle, features Premanand displaying and teaching many supposedly supernatural stunts such as levitation, flesh piercing and live burials.

From 1976 his most famous target was Sathya Sai Baba.[2] Premanand was arrested in 1986 by the police for marching, together with 500 volunteers towards Puttaparthi, the town where the main ashram of the guru is located. In the same year he sued Sathya Sai Baba for violation of the Gold Control Act for Sathya Sai Baba’s materializations of gold objects. The case was dismissed, but Premanand appealed on the ground that spiritual power is not a defence recognised in law.[2]

He took active part in Vigyan Yatra (Rally for Science) organised by Maharashtra Lok Vidnyan in 1982 to popularise science and scientific thinking as well as in the Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha held in 1987 espousing the same cause.[1]

He later founded the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, which tours the villages of India to educate people by debunking gurus and fakirs whom he considered frauds or self deceived.[2] He also was the convener of Indian CSICOP, a Tamil Nadu based skeptic group which is an affiliate of CSICOP. He was the owner-publisher-editor of the monthly magazine, The Indian Skeptic, which “publishes articles on the scientific investigation of apparently paranormal occurrences with a special emphasis on cases from India“.

Described by BBC as India’s leading guru buster,[2] Basava Premanand has “been honoured by the government with its highest award for the promotion of scientific values among the public.[4]

The Challenge of Basava Premanand

In 1963, Abraham Kovoor offered an award of INR 100,000 for anyone who could demonstrate supernatural or miraculous powers under fool-proof and fraud-proof conditions. After the death of Abraham Kovoor in 1978, Basava Premanand continued his challenge by offering INR 100,000 to any person who would demonstrate any psychic, supernatural of paranormal ability of any kind under satisfactory observing conditions. The challenge remains uncontested.

Books/Pamphlets authored by Premanand

In English

  1. Science versus Miracles
  2. Lure of Miracles
  3. Divine Octopus
  4. The Storm of Godmen, God and Diamond Smuggling
  5. Satya Sai Greed
  6. Satya Sai Baba & Gold Control Act
  7. Satya Sai Baba & Kerala Land Reforms Act
  8. Investigate Balayogi
  9. United Front – FIRA 2nd National Conference
  10. Murders in Sai Baba’s Bedroom
  11. A. T. Kovoor Octogenary Souvenir

In Malayalam

  1. Saibabayude Kalikal
  2. Saidasikal Devadasikal
  3. Pinthirippanmarude Masterplan


External links

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