Archive for the ‘The Great Rationalists’ Category

Tribute to Marathi Rationalist Activist Martyr Dr. Narendra Dabholkar : A Radio programme in Bengali

A Radio programme in Bengali titled ‘Drishtipat’ in protest of the brutal assassination of Eminent Marathi Rationalist Activist Martyr Dr. Narendra Dabholkar broadcast from ‘Akashvani Kolkata’ on 9 September, Monday at 9-30 pm. Presented and Produced by Dr. Manaspratim Das. A gentle apology for poor quality of audio as it is an ordinary cell phone recording.
Total duration: 27:56 minutes. 

কুসংস্কার বিরোধী আন্দোলনের শহীদ ডা: নরেন্দ্র দাভোলকর স্মরণে ৯ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৩, আকাশবাণী কলকাতা কেন্দ্র থেকে সম্প্রচারিত বিশেষ বেতার অনুষ্ঠান ‘দৃষ্টিপাত’।
উপস্থাপনা ও প্রযোজনা: ড: মানসপ্রতিম দাস। অনুষ্ঠানে অংশগ্রহণ করেছিলেন বিশিষ্ট জ্যোতির্বিজ্ঞানী ড: অমলেন্দু বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়, বিশিষ্ট সাহিত্যিক স্বপ্নময় চক্রবর্তী, দেবাশিস্‌ ভট্টাচার্য (সাধারণ সম্পাদক, ভারতীয় বিজ্ঞান ও যুক্তিবাদী সমিতি), সাধন বিশ্বাস (সম্পাদক, ‘হেতুবাদী সাময়িকী’ পত্রিকা), শুভপ্রতিম রায়চৌধুরী (আমরা-এক সচেতন প্রয়াস) প্রমুখ।
রেডিও থেকে সরাসরি মোবাইল ফোনে রেকর্ডিং-এর কারণে শব্দের গুণগত মানের ত্রুটির জন্য আন্তরিকভাবে দুঃখিত।

Shaheed Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh

 Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bhagat Singh  (28 September 1907 – 23 March 1931) was an Indian freedom fighter, considered to be one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement. He is often referred to as Shaheed Bhagat Singh (the word shaheed meaning “martyr”).

Born to a Jat  Sikh family which had earlier been involved in revolutionary activities against the British Raj, Singh, as a teenager, became an atheist and had studied European revolutionary movements. He also became attracted to anarchism and marxist ideologies. He became involved in numerous revolutionary organizations. He quickly rose through the ranks of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) and became one of its leaders, converting it to the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). Singh gained support when he underwent a 64-day fast in jail, demanding equal rights for Indian and British political prisoners. He was hanged for shooting a police officer in response to a police lathi charge leading to the demise of veteran freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai. His legacy prompted youths in India to begin fighting for Indian independence and contributed to the rise of socialism in India.

Early life

Bhagat Singh was born into a Sandhu Jatt family to Sardar Kishan Singh Sandhu and Vidyavati in a village in the Lyallpur district of Punjab.  His ancestral village is the Khatkar Kalan village near Banga in Nawanshahr District of Punjab.The District has recently been renamed as Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar. Singh’s given name of Bhagat means “devotee”, and he was nicknamed “Bhaganwala” by his grandmother, meaning “The lucky one”.  He came from a patriotic Jatt Sikh family, some of whom had participated in movements supporting the independence of India and others who had served in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s army.  His grandfather, Arjun Singh, was a follower of Swami Dayananda Saraswati’s Hindu reformist movement, Arya Samaj,  which would carry a heavy influence on Singh. His uncles, Ajit Singh and Swaran Singh, as well as his father were members of the Ghadar Party, led by Kartar Singh Sarabha Grewal and Har Dayal. Ajit Singh was forced to flee to Persia because of pending cases against him while Swaran Singh was hanged on 19 December 1927 for his involvement in the Kakori train robbery of 1925.

Unlike many Sikhs his age, Singh did not attend Khalsa High School in Lahore, because his grandfather did not approve of the school officials’ loyalism to the British authorities. Instead, his father enrolled him in Dayanand Anglo Vedic High School, an Arya Samajist school.  At age 13, Singh began to follow Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement. At this point he had openly defied the British and had followed Gandhi’s wishes by burning his government-school books and any British-imported clothing. Following Gandhi’s withdrawal of the movement after the violent murders of policemen by villagers from Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh, Singh, disgruntled with Gandhi’s nonviolence action, joined the Young Revolutionary Movement and began advocating a violent movement against the British.

In 1923, Bhagat famously won an essay competition set by the Punjab Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. This grabbed the attention of members of the Punjab Hindi Sahitya Sammelan including its General Secretary Professor Bhim Sen Vidyalankar. At this age, he quoted famous Punjabi literature and discussed the Problems of the Punjab. He read a lot of poetry and literature which was written by Punjabi writers and his favourite poet was Allama Iqbal from Sialkot.

In his teenage years, Bhagat Singh started studying at the National College in Lahore, but ran away from home to escape early marriage, and became a member of the organisation Naujawan Bharat Sabha (“Youth Society of India”). In the Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Singh and his fellow revolutionaries grew popular amongst the youth. He also joined the Hindustan Republican Association through introduction by history teacher, Professor Vidyalankar, which had prominent leaders like Ram Prasad Bismil, Chandrashekhar Azad and Ashfaqulla Khan. It is believed that he went to Kanpur to attempt free Kakori train robbery prisoners from the jail, but returned to Lahore for unknown reasons.  On the day of Dasara in October 1926, a bomb was blasted in Lahore, and Bhagat Singh was arrested for his alleged involvement in this Dasara Bomb Case in 29 May 1927, and was released on a bail of Rs.60,000 after about five weeks of his arrest. He wrote for and edited Urdu and Punjabi newspapers published from Amritsar. In September 1928, a meeting of various revolutionaries from across India was called at Delhi under the banner of the Kirti Kissan Party. Bhagat Singh was the secretary of the meet. His later revolutionary activities were carried out as a leader of this association.

Later revolutionary activities

Lala Lajpat Rai’s death and the Saunders murder
The British government created a commission under Sir John Simon to report on the current political situation in India in 1928. The Indian political parties boycotted the commission because it did not include a single Indian as its member and it was met with protests all over the country. When the commission visited Lahore on 30 October 1928, Lala Lajpat Rai led the protest against Simon Commission in a silent non-violent march, but the police responded with violence. Lala Lajpat Rai was beaten with lathis at the chest. He later succumbed to his injuries. Bhagat Singh, who was an eyewitness to this event, vowed to take revenge. He joined with other revolutionaries, Shivaram Rajguru, Jai Gopal and Sukhdev Thapar, in a plot to kill the police chief, Scott. Jai Gopal was supposed to identify the chief and signal for Singh to shoot. However, in a case of mistaken identity, Gopal signalled Singh on the appearance of J. P. Saunders, a Deputy Superintendent of Police. Thus, Saunders, instead of Scott, was shot. Shahid Bhagat Singh quickly left Lahore to escape the police. To avoid recognition, he shaved his beard and cut his hair, a violation of the sacred tenets of Sikhism.

Bomb in the assembly
In the face of actions by the revolutionaries, the British government enacted the Defence of India Act to give more power to the police. The purpose of the Act was to combat revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh.However, the Act was then passed under the ordinance that claimed that it was in the best interest of the public. In response to this act, the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association planned to explode a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly where the ordinance was going to be passed. This idea was originated by Bhagat Singh, who was influenced by a similar bombing by a martyr anarchist Auguste Vaillant in the French Assembly. It was decided that Bhagat Singh should go to Russia, while Batukeshwar Dutt should carry on the bombing with Sukhdev. Sukhdev then forced Bhagat Singh to call for another meeting and here it was decided, against the initial agreement, that Batukeshwar Dutt and Bhagat Singh would carry on the bombing. Bhagat Singh also disapproved that the two should be escorted after the bombing by the rest of the party.

On 8 April 1929, Singh and Dutt threw a bomb onto the corridors of the assembly and shouted “Inquilab Zindabad!” (“Long Live the Revolution!”). This was followed by a shower of leaflets stating that it takes a loud voice to make the deaf hear.

The bomb neither killed nor injured anyone; Singh and Dutt claimed that this was deliberate on their part, a claim substantiated both by British forensics investigators who found that the bomb was not powerful enough to cause injury, and by the fact that the bomb was thrown away from people. Singh and Dutt gave themselves up for arrest after the bomb. He and Dutt were sentenced to ‘Transportation for Life’ for the bombing on 12 June 1929.

Leaflet thrown in the Central Assembly Hall, April 8 1929

Trial and execution

On 15 April 1929, the ‘Lahore Bomb Factory’ was discovered by the Lahore police, and the other members of HSRA were arrested, out of which 7 turned informants, helping the police to connect Bhagat Singh in the murder of J. P. Saunders. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were charged with the murder. Bhagat Singh decided to use the court as a tool to publicise his cause for the independence of India. The case was ordered to be carried out without members of the HSRA present at the hearing. This created an uproar amongst Singh’s supporters as he could no longer publicise his views.

While in jail, Bhagat Singh and other prisoners launched a hunger strike advocating for the rights of prisoners and those facing trial. The reason for the strike was that British murderers and thieves were treated better than Indian political prisoners, who, by law, were meant to be given better rights. The aims in their strike were to ensure a decent standard of food for political prisoners, the availability of books and a daily newspaper, as well as better clothing and the supply of toiletry necessities and other hygienic necessities. He also demanded that political prisoners should not be forced to do any labour or undignified work. During this hunger strike that lasted 63 days and ended with the British succumbing to his wishes, he gained much popularity among the common Indians. Before the strike his popularity was limited mainly to the Punjab region.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, one of the politicians present when the Central Legislative Assembly was bombed,  made no secret of his sympathies for the Lahore prisoners – commenting on the hunger strike he said “the man who goes on hunger strike has a soul. He is moved by that soul, and he believes in the justice of his cause.” And talking of Singh’s actions said “however much you deplore them and however much you say they are misguided, it is the system, this damnable system of governance, which is resented by the people”.

On 1 May 1930, by declaring an emergency, an ordinance was passed by Lord Irwin, that shifted the Lahore Conspiracy Case Trial from the court of Rai Sahib Pandit Sri Kishan to a Special Tribunal of three judges. This Special Tribunal was given the power to proceed with the case in the absence of the accused and accept death of the persons giving evidence as a benefit to the defence. Also, the verdict of this special court could not be challenged in higher court. On 7 October 1930, this tribunal convicted Singh among others and sentenced him to be hanged till death.

An abortive plan had been made to rescue Bhagat Singh and fellow inmates of HSRA from the jail, for the purpose of which Bhagwati Charan Vohra made bombs, but died making them as they exploded accidentally.

Bhagat Singh also maintained the use of a diary, which he eventually made to fill 404 pages. In this diary he made numerous notes relating to the quotations and popular sayings of various people whose views he supported. Prominent in his diary were the views of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The comments in his diary led to an understanding of the philosophical thinking of Bhagat Singh.

While in the condemned cell, he also wrote a pamphlet entitled “Why I am an atheist”, as he was being accused of vanity by not accepting God in the face of death. It is also said that he signed a mercy petition through a comrade Bijoy Kumar Sinha on 8 March 1931.

On 23 March 1931, Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore with his fellow comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev. His supporters, who had been protesting against the hanging, immediately declared him as a shaheed or martyr. According to the Superintendent of Police at the time, V.N. Smith, the hanging was advanced:

Normally execution took place at 8 am, but it was decided to act at once before the public could become aware of what had happened…At about 7 pm shouts of Inquilab Zindabad were heard from inside the jail. This was interpreted, correctly, as a signal that the final curtain was about to drop.

  • Bhagat Singh Memorial

Singh was cremated at Hussainiwala on banks of the Sutlej river. The Bhagat Singh Memorial was built in 2009 in his hometown of Khatkar Kalan at a cost of Rs.168 million.

  • Bhagat Singh Museum

A museum by the name “Shaheed-e-azam Sardar Bhagat Singh Museum” has been built at his maternal village, where sand and newspaper stained with his blood and his half burnt bones are preserved.

Ideals and opinions

Bhagat Singh was attracted to anarchism and communism. Both communism and western anarchism had influence on him. He read the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky and Bakunin. Bhagat Singh did not believe in Gandhian philosophy and felt that Gandhian politics would replace one set of exploiters with another. Bhagat Singh was an atheist and promoted the concept of atheism by writing a pamphlet titled Why I am an Atheist.  Bhagat Singh was also an admirer of the writings of Irish revolutionary Terence MacSwiney. When Bhagat Singh’s father petitioned the British government to pardon his son, Bhagat Singh quoted Terence MacSwiney and said “I am confident that my death will do more to smash the British Empire than my release” and told his father to withdraw the petition.

Some of his writings like “Blood Sprinkled on the Day of Holi Babbar Akalis on the Crucifix” were influenced by the struggle of Dharam Singh Hayatpur.

Anarchism

From May to September, 1928, Bhagat Singh serially published several articles on anarchism in Punjabi periodical Kirti. He expressed concern over misunderstanding of the concept of anarchism among the public. Singh tried to eradicate the misconception among people about anarchism. He wrote, “The people are scared of the word anarchism. The word anarchism has been abused so much that even in India revolutionaries have been called anarchist to make them unpopular.” As anarchism means absence of ruler and abolition of state, not absence of order, Singh explained, “I think in India the idea of universal brotherhood, the Sanskrit sentence vasudhaiva kutumbakam etc., has the same meaning.” He wrote about the growth of anarchism,”the first man to explicitly propagate the theory of Anarchism was Proudhon and that is why he is called the founder of Anarchism. After him a Russian, Bakunin, worked hard to spread the doctrine. He was followed by Prince Kropotkin etc.”

Bhagat Singh explained anarchism in the article:

The ultimate goal of Anarchism is complete independence, according to which no one will be obsessed with God or religion, nor will anybody be crazy for money or other worldly desires. There will be no chains on the body or control by the state. This means that they want to eliminate: the Church, God and Religion; the state; Private property.

Click the following links to read :

I am not a terrorist and I never was, FEBRUARY 2 1931

Ideal Explained- 6th June 1929

On the slogan of ‘Long Live Revolution

We claim to be SHOT DEAD instead of to be HANGED, 19 March 1931

Letter to Saheed Sukhdev 5 April, 1929

Letter to his Father on October 4, 1930

Marxism

Bhagat Singh was also influenced by Marxism. Indian historian K. N. Panikkar described Singh as one of the early Marxists in India. From 1926, Bhagat Singh studied the history of the revolutionary movement in India and abroad. In his prison notebooks, Singh used quotations from Vladmir Lenin (on imperialism being the highest stage of capitalism) and Trotsky on revolution. In written documents, when asked what was his last wish, he replied that he was studying the life of Lenin and he wanted to finish it before his death.

“Revolution” does not necessarily involve sanguinary strife nor is there any place in it for individual vendetta. It is not the cult of the bomb and the pistol. By “Revolution” we mean that the present order of things, which is based on manifest injustice, must change. Producers or labourers in spite of being the most necessary element of society, are robbed by their exploiters of the fruits of their labour and deprived of their elementary rights. The peasant who grows corn for all, starves with his family, the weaver who supplies the world market with textile fabrics, has not enough to cover his own and his children’s bodies, masons, smiths and carpenters who raise magnificent palaces, live like pariahs in the slums. The capitalists and exploiters, the parasites of society, squander millions on their whims. These terrible inequalities and forced disparity of chances are bound to lead to chaos. This state of affairs cannot last long, and it is obvious, that the present order of society in merry-making is on the brink of a volcano.

The whole edifice of this civilization, if not saved in time, shall crumble. A radical change, therefore, is necessary and it is the duty of those who realize it to reorganize society on the socialistic basis. Unless this thing is done and the exploitation of man by man and of nations by nations is brought to an end, sufferings and carnage with which humanity is threatened today cannot be prevented. All talk of ending war and ushering in an era of universal peace is undisguised hypocrisy.

By “Revolution”, we mean the ultimate establishment of an order of society which may not be threatened by such breakdown, and in which the sovereignty of the proletariat should be recognized and a world federation should redeem humanity from the bondage of capitalism and misery of imperial wars.”

(An excerpt from the statement of Martyr Bhagat Singh and B. K. Dutta in the Assembly Bomb Case, Read in the Court on 6th June, 1929, by Mr. Asaf Ali on behalf of Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutta)

Atheism

Singh began to question religious ideologies after witnessing the Hindu-Muslim riots that broke out after Gandhi disbanded the Non-Cooperation Movement. He did not understand how members of these two groups, initially united in fighting against the British, could be at each others’ throats because of their religious differences. At this point, Singh dropped his religious beliefs, since he believed religion hindered the revolutionaries’ struggle for independence, and began studying the works of Bakunin, Lenin, Trotsky — all atheist revolutionaries. He also took an interest in Niralamba Swami’s book Common Sense, which advocated a form of “mystic atheism”.

While in a condemned cell in 1931, he wrote a pamphlet entitled Why I am an Atheist in which he discusses and advocates the philosophy of atheism. This pamphlet was a result of some criticism by fellow revolutionaries on his failure to acknowledge religion and God while in a condemned cell, the accusation of vanity was also dealt with in this pamphlet. He supported his own beliefs and claimed that he used to be a firm believer in The Almighty, but could not bring himself to believe the myths and beliefs that others held close to their hearts. In this pamphlet, he acknowledged the fact that religion made death easier, but also said that unproved philosophy is a sign of human weakness.

Click here to read :Why I am an Atheist by Bhagat Singh

Death

Bhagat Singh was known for his appreciation of martyrdom. His mentor as a young boy was Kartar Singh Sarabha. Singh is himself considered a martyr for acting to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. In the leaflet he threw in the Central Assembly on 9 April 1929, he stated that It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled while the ideas survived. After engaging in studies on the Russian Revolution, he wanted to die so that his death would inspire the youth of India which in turn will unite them to fight the British Empire.

While in prison, Bhagat Singh and two others had written a letter to the Viceroy asking him to treat them as prisoners of war and hence to execute them by firing squad and not by hanging. Prannath Mehta, Bhagat Singh’s friend, visited him in the jail on 20 March, four days before his execution, with a draft letter for clemency, but he declined to sign it.

Conspiracy theories

Many conspiracy theories exist regarding Bhagat Singh, especially the events surrounding his death:

Mahatma Gandhi
One of the most popular ones is that Mahatma Gandhi had an opportunity to stop Singh’s execution but did not. A variation of this theory is that Gandhi actively conspired with the British to have Singh executed. Gandhi’s supporters say that Gandhi did not have enough influence with the British to stop the execution, much less arrange it. Furthermore, Gandhi’s supporters assert that Singh’s role in the independence movement was no threat to Gandhi’s role as its leader, and so Gandhi would have no reason to want him dead.

Gandhi, during his lifetime, always maintained that he was a great admirer of Singh’s patriotism. He also said that he was opposed to Singh’s execution (and, for that matter, capital punishment in general) and proclaimed that he had no power to stop it. On Singh’s execution, Gandhi said, “The government certainly had the right to hang these men. However, there are some rights which do credit to those who possess them only if they are enjoyed in name only.” Gandhi also once said, on capital punishment, “I cannot in all conscience agree to anyone being sent to the gallows. God alone can take life because He alone gives it.”

Gandhi had managed to have 90,000 political prisoners who were not members of his Satyagraha movement released under the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. According to a report in the Indian magazine Frontline, he did plead several times for the commutation of the death sentence of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, including a personal visit on 19 March 1931, and in a letter to the Viceroy on the day of their execution, pleading fervently for commutation, not knowing that the letter would be too late.

Lord Irwin, the Viceroy, later said:

As I listened to Mr. Gandhi putting the case for commutation before me, I reflected first on what significance it surely was that the apostle of non-violence should so earnestly be pleading the cause of the devotees of a creed so fundamentally opposed to his own, but I should regard it as wholly wrong to allow my judgment to be influenced by purely political considerations. I could not imagine a case in which under the law, penalty had been more directly deserved.

However, Gandhi did appreciate Bhagat’s patriotism and how he had overcome the fear of death, but did not support the violence involved.

“We should not imitate their act. In our land of millions of destitute and crippled people, if we take to the practice of seeking justice through murder, there will be a terrifying situation. Our poor people will become victims of our atrocities.  By making a dharma of violence, we shall be reaping the fruit of our own actions. Hence, though we praise the courage of these brave men, we should never countenance their activities. Our dharma is to swallow our anger, abide by the discipline of non-violence and carry out our duty.”
(Excerpted from Gandhi’s article on the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh in “Young India”, March 29, 1931)

Saunders family
On 28 October 2005, a book entitled Some Hidden Facts: Martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh—Secrets unfurled by an Intelligence Bureau Agent of British-India by K.S. Kooner and G.S. Sindhra was released. The book asserts that Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were deliberately hanged in such a manner as to leave all three in a semi-conscious state, so that all three could later be taken outside the prison and shot dead by the Saunders family. The book says that this was a prison operation code named “Operation Trojan Horse.” Scholars are skeptical of the book’s claims.

Legacy

Indian independence movement

Bhagat Singh’s death had the effect that he desired and he inspired thousands of youths to assist the remainder of the Indian independence movement. After his hanging, youths in regions around Northern India rioted in protest against the British Raj and Gandhi.

Modern day
Singh’s contribution to Indian society and, in particular, the future of socialism in India. To celebrate the centenary of his birth, a group of intellectuals have set up an institution to commemorate Singh and his ideals.

Several popular Bollywood films have been made capturing the life and times of Bhagat Singh. Possibly the first is Shaheed-e-Azad Bhagat Singh (1954); followed by Shaheed Bhagat Singh (1963), starring Shammi Kapoor as Bhagat Singh. Two years later, Manoj Kumar portrayed Bhagat Singh in an immensely popular and landmark film, Shaheed. Two major films about Singh were released in 2002, The Legend of Bhagat Singh and 23rd March 1931: Shaheed. The Legend of Bhagat Singh is Rajkumar Santoshi’s adaptation, in which Ajay Devgan played Singh and Amrita Rao was featured in a brief role. 23rd March 1931: Shaheed was directed by Guddu Dhanoa and starred Bobby Deol as Singh, with Sunny Deol and Aishwarya Rai in supporting roles. Another major film Shaheed-E-Azam, starring Sonu Sood, Maanav Vij, Rajinder Gupta, and Sadhana Singh, and directed by Sukumar Nair, also was produced by Iqbal Dhillon under the banner Surjit Movies.

Movies on Bhagat Singh

  • Shaheed-e-Azad Bhagat Singh (1954)
  • Shaheed Bhagat Singh (1963)
  • Shaheed (1965)
  • The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)
  • 23rd March 1931: Shaheed(2002)
  • Shaheed-E-Azam(2003)
  • Rang De Basanti(2006)

The 2006 film Rang De Basanti is a film drawing parallels between revolutionaries of Bhagat Singh’s era and modern Indian youth. It covers a lot of Bhagat Singh’s role in the Indian freedom struggle. The movie revolves around a group of college students and how they each play the roles of Bhagat’s friends and family.

The patriotic Urdu and Hindi songs, Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna (translated as “the desire to sacrifice”) and Mera Rang De Basanti Chola (“my light-yellow-coloured cloak”; Basanti referring to the light-yellow color of the Mustard flower grown in the Punjab and also one of the two main colours of the Sikh religion as per the Sikh rehat meryada(code of conduct of the Sikh Saint-Soldier) ), while created by Ram Prasad Bismil, are largely associated to Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom and have been used in a number of Bhagat Singh-related films.

In September 2007 the Governor of Punjab province, Khalid Maqbool, announced that a memorial to Bhagat Singh will be displayed at Lahore museum, according to the governor “Singh was the first martyr of the subcontinent and his example was followed by many youth of the time.”

Criticism

Bhagat Singh was criticised both by his contemporaries and by people after his death because of his violent and revolutionary stance towards the British and his strong opposition to the pacifist stance taken by the Indian National Congress and particularly Mahatma Gandhi. The methods he used to make his point—shooting Saunders and throwing non-lethal bombs—were quite different from Gandhi’s non-violent methodology.  Please click the link given below:
Mahatma Gandhi on the Martyrdom of Bhagat Singh

Quotations

  • “The aim of life is no more to control the mind, but to develop it harmoniously; not to achieve salvation here after, but to make the best use of it here below; and not to realise truth, beauty and good only in contemplation, but also in the actual experience of daily life; social progress depends not upon the ennoblement of the few but on the enrichment of democracy; universal brotherhood can be achieved only when there is an equality of opportunity – of opportunity in the social, political and individual life.” — from Bhagat Singh’s prison diary, p. 124
  • “Inquilab Zindabad” (Long live the revolution)

After 63 years of Independence, around 400 million unorganised workers struggle to survive without any tangible right, though they substantially contribute to the national income. No employment regulation, no pension, no maternity benefits, no accident compensation, no provision to get even the minimum wages or health benefits. Instead, crumbs of social assistance schemes are thrown at them by the state as charity.

Ye Kaisi Aazadi Hai? asks Jagjit Singh, joining the campaigners of Social Security Now, a network of trade unions, civil society organisations, people’s movements and concerned individuals fighting for securing Social Security Rights for the countless, voiceless unorganised workers. This is your song. Please share it with all the concerned citizens.

Lyrics: Nida Fazli, Music: Jagjit Singh, Dir: Pravin Mishra

The revolutionary spirit of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru is an unfailing source of inspiration to the youth of the country. Their courage, bravery, spirit of struggle and sacrifice are an example to one and all.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh was a Great Indian Freedom Fighter, considered to be one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement. 

BHAGAT SINGH is to be hanged!“- When the news spread, the people all over the country were mad with rage. Thousands of appeals were sent to the British government, pleading that his death sentence should be commuted. Several politicians and social activists joined in the appeal. But all attempts failed. Even the members of the prisoners’ families were not allowed to meet them. Sukhdev and Rajguru were the other two to be hanged with Bhagat Singh. Three of them were hanged to death a day before the assigned date because British officials feared a revolt from the Indians. 

March 23 is observed as “MARTYRS’ DAY” to remember the contribution of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru and other brave ‘Krantikaaris‘ who paved way for Indian Independence.
Let us pay tribute to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru and let us pledge that we shall carry forward their spirit of sacrifice, struggle, commitment and determination against Imperialist aggression, the repressiveanti-people policy of the state and all kinds of oppression and exploitation based on gender, race or class. 

HOLD HIGH THE BANNER OF PEOPLE’S RESISTANCE AGAINST IMPERIALIST AGGRESSION FROM SINGUR-NANDIGRAM TO LALGARH! 

LONG LIVE PEOPLE’S RESISTANCE AGAINST THE STATE-SPONSORED  TERROTISM! 

Long Live the Revolution! Inqilab Zindabad!

External links

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (18 April 1809 – 26 December 1831) was a fiery Indian teacher and poet. As a lecturer at the Hindu College of Calcutta, he invigorated a large group of students to think independently; this Young Bengal group played a key role in the Bengal renaissance.

Derozio was generally considered an Anglo-Indian, being of mixed Portuguese descent, but he was fired by a patriotic spirit for his native Bengal, and considered himself Indian. In his poem To My Native Land he wrote:

My Country! In the days of Glory Past. A beauteous halo circled round thy brow. And worshiped as deity thou wast, Where is that Glory, where is that reverence now?

Contents

Early life

The son of Francis Derozio, he was born at Entally-Padmapukur in Kolkata on 18 April 1809. He attended David Drummond’s Dhurramtallah Academy school, where he was a star pupil, reading widely on topics like the French revolution and Robert Burns. Drummond, “a dour Scotsman, an exile and a ‘notorious free thinker'”,[1] instilled in him a passion for learning and superstition-free rational thinking, in addition to a solid grounding in history, philosophy and English literature.

He quit school at the age of 14 and initially joined his father’s concern at Kolkata and later shifted to Bhagalpur. Inspired by the scenic beauty of the banks of the River Ganges, he started writing poetry. Some of these were published in Dr. Grant’s India Gazette. His critical review of a book by Emmanuel Kant attracted the attention of the intelligentsia. In 1828, he went to Kolkata with the objective of publishing his long poem – Fakir of Jhungeera. On learning that a faculty position was vacant at the newly established Hindu College, he applied for it and was selected.

This was the time when Hindu society in Bengal was undergoing considerable turmoil. In 1828, Raja Ram Mohan Roy established the Brahmo Samaj, which kept Hindu ideals but denied idolatry. This resulted in a backlash within orthodox Hindu society. It is in the perspective of these changes that Derozio was appointed at Hindu college, where he helped released the ideas for social change already in the air.

Hindu College and Social Backlash

In May 1826, at the age of 17, he was appointed teacher in English literature and history at the new Hindu College, which had been set up recently to meet the interest in English education among Indians. He was initially a teacher in the second and third classes, later also of the fourth, but he attracted students from all classes. He interacted freely with students, well beyond the class hours. His zeal for interacting with students was legendary.

His brilliant lectures presented closely-reasoned arguments based on his wide reading. He encouraged students to read Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man and other free-thinking texts. Although Derozio himself was an atheist and had renounced Christianity, he encouraged questioning the orthodox Hindu customs and conventions on the basis of Italian renaissance and its offshoot rationalism. He infused in his students the spirit of free expression, the yearning for knowledge and a passion to live up to their identity, while questioning irrational religious and cultural practices.

Derozio’s intense zeal for teaching and his interactions with students created a sensation at Hindu College. His students came to be known as Derozians. He organised debates where ideas and social norms were freely debated. In 1828, he motivated them to form a literary and debating club called the Academic Association. In 1830, this club brought out a magazine named Parthenon (only one issue came out[2]). Apart from articles criticizing Hindu practices, the students wrote on women emancipation and criticized many aspects of British rule. He also encouraged students into journalism, to spread these ideas into a society eager for change. In mid 1831, he helped Krishna Mohan Banerjee start an English weekly, The Enquirer, while Dakshinaranjan Mukherjee and Rasik Krishna Mallick began publishing a Bengali paper, the Jnananvesan[3]

He took great pleasure in his interactions with students, writing about them:

Expanding like the petals of young flowers
I watch the gentle opening of your minds…

He was close in age to most of his students (some were older than he was). The motto of the Derozians was:

He who will not reason is a bigot, he who cannot reason is a fool, and he who does not reason is a slave.[1]

So all ideas were open to challenge. Many of his inner circle of students eventually rebelled against Hindu orthodoxy, and joined the Brahmo Samaj, while some like Krishna Mohan Banerjee converted to Christianity, and others like Ramtanu Lahiri gave up their sacred thread. Others went on to write in Bengali, including Peary Chand Mitra, who authored the first novel in Bengali.

The radicalism of his teaching and his student group caused an intense backlash against him.

Expulsion

Tomb of Henry Louis Vivian Derozio

Due to his unorthodox (legendarily free) views on society, culture and religion, the Hindu-dominated management committee of the college, under the chairmanship of Radhakanta Deb, expelled him as a faculty member by a 6:1 vote, for having

materially injured [the student’s] Morals and introduced some strange system the tendency of which is destruction to their moral character and to the peace in Society. … In consequence of his misunderstanding no less than 25 Pupils of respectable families have been withdrawn from the College.[4]

Though facing penury, he continued his interaction with his students, indeed, he was able to do more, helping them bring out several newspapers, etc. However, at the end of the year, he contracted cholera, which was fatal at the time, and died on 26 December 1831 at the age of 22. Being a Christian apostate, he was denied burial inside South Park Street Cemetery; instead he was buried just outside it on the road.

Poetry

Derozio idolized Byron, modeling many of his poems in the romantic vein. Much of his poetry reflects native Indian stories, told in the Victorian style. The Fakeer of Jungheera(1828) is a long lyrical poem, abundant in descriptions of the region around Bhagalpur. The melancholy narrative involves a religious mendicant, who saves his erstwhile lover from satihood, but comes to a romantic end fighting her pursuers.

Among his short poems, there are several ballads, such as The Song of the Hindustanee Minstrel:

Dildar! There’s many a valued pearl
In richest Oman’s sea;
But none, my fair Cashmerian girl!
O! none can rival thee.[5]

Fired by a patriotic zeal he also wrote a good bit of nationalistic poetry, some quite openly rebellious, as in The Golden Vase:

Oh! when our country writhes in galling chains
When her proud masters scourge her like a dog;
If her wild cry be borne upon the gale,
Our bosoms to the melancholy sound
Should swell, and we should rush to her relief,
Like some, at an unhappy parent’s wail!
And when we know the flash of patriot swords
Is unto spirits longing to be free,
Like Hope’e returning light; we should not pause
Till every tyrant dread our feet, or till we find
Graves…

This anti-imperialist fervor also separated him from the Anglo-Indian (then Eurasian) community, who were overwhelmingly pro-British. At one point, he urged his fellow Anglo-Indians that it would be

in their interest to unite and be cooperative with the other native inhabitants of India. Any other course will subject them to greater opposition than they have at present.[6]

Despite his poetic bent, and his flamboyant dresses, he never showed much interest in women, though he was a strong advocate for female emancipation. The women in his poetry also appear “a little wooden and lacking in individuality”.[1] A 1905 biography subtly hints that his expulsion may have had some underpinnings of homophobia; all his student meetings were exclusively attended by young male students.[7]

Influence

His ideas had a profound influence on the social movement that came to be known as the “Bengal Renaissance” in early 19th century Bengal. And despite being viewed as something of an iconoclast by others like Alexander Duff and other (largely evangelical) Christian Missionaries; later in Duff’s General Assembly’s Institution, Derozio’s ideas on the acceptance of the rational spirit were accepted partly as long as they were not in conflict with basic tenets of Christianity, and as long as they critiqued orthodox Hinduism.

Derozio was an atheist [8] but his ideas were also partly responsible for the conversion of upper caste Hindus like Krishna Mohan Banerjee and Lal Behari Dey to Christianity. Many other students like Tarachand Chakraborti became leaders in the Brahmo Samaj.[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Arvind K Mehrotra, An illustrated history of Indian Literature in English Permanent Black, New Delhi 2003 Rs 1495
  2. ^ http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/Y_0008.htm
  3. ^ Young Bengal banglapedia
  4. ^ Proceedings of the Hindu College Committee relating to the dismissal of Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, Saturday, 1831-04-23
  5. ^ Selected Poetry of Henry Louis Vivian Derozio
  6. ^ Derozio, Report to Doverton College, 1831
  7. ^ Madge, Elliot Walter (ed. Subir Ray Choudhuri),Henry Derozio, the Eurasian Poet and Reformer, Metropolitan Book Agency, 1967, 58 pages
  8. ^ [1] Hindu-School, Kolkata
  9. ^ Derozio and the Hindu College

Books

  • Ramtanu Lahiri O Tatkalin Banga Samaj in Bengali by Sivanath Sastri.
  • Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) in Bengali edited by Subodh Chandra Sengupta and Anjali Bose

External links

Source- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cārvāka: Our Indian Heritage of Skepticism

Cārvāka

Source:  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Cārvāka (Sanskrit: चार्वाक), also known as Lokāyata, is a system of Indian philosophy that assumes various forms of philosophical skepticism and religious indifference.[1] It is named after its founder, Cārvāka, author of the Bārhaspatya-sūtras.[2]

In overviews of Indian philosophy, Cārvāka is classified as a “faithless” (nāstika) system, the same classification as is given to Buddhism and Jainism.[3][4] It is characterized as a materialistic and atheistic school of thought. While this branch of Indian philosophy is not considered to be part of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, it is noteworthy as evidence of a materialistic movement within Hinduism.[5][6]

Contents

Name and origins

The name Lokāyata can be traced to Kautilya’s Arthashastra, which refers to three ānvīkṣikīs (logical philosophies), Yoga, Samkhya and Lokayata. Lokayata here still refers to logical debate (disputatio, “criticism”) in general and not to a materialist doctrine in particular. Similarly, Saddaniti and Buddhaghosa in the 5th century connect the “Lokayatas” with the Vitandas (sophists).

Only from about the 6th century is the term restricted to the school of the Lokyātikas. The name Cārvāka is first used in the 7th century by the philosopher Purandara, who refers to his fellow materialists as “the Cārvākas”, and it is used by the 8th century philosophers Kamalaśīla and Haribhadra. Shankara, on the other hand, always uses Lokāyata, not Cārvāka.[7] The etymological meaning of the word Cārvāka is ‘a person who is clever in speech and is extremely fond of wrangling (debate)’.

E. W. Hopkins, in his The Ethics of India (1924) assumes that Cārvāka philosophy is co-eval with Buddhism, mentioning “the old Cārvāka or materialist of the 6th century BC”; Rhys Davids assumes that lokayata in ca. 500 BC came to mean “skepticism” in general without yet being organized as a philosophical school, and that the name of a villain of the Mahabharata, Cārvāka, was attached to the position in order to disparage it. The earliest positive statement of skepticism is preserved from the epic period, in the Ramayana.

regard only that which is an object of perception, and cast behind your back whatever is beyond the reach of your senses (2.108)

The Cārvāka school thus appears to have gradually grown out of generic skepticism in the Mauryan period, but its existence as an organized body cannot be ascertained for times predating the 6th century. The Barhaspatya sutras were likely also composed in Mauryan times, predating 150 BC, based on a reference in the Mahabhasya of Patanjali (7.3.45).[8]

Loss of original works

“Though materialism in some form or other has always been present in India, and occasional references are found in the Vedas, the Buddhistic literature, the Epics, as well as in the later philosophical works we do not find any systematic work on materialism, nor any organised school of followers as the other philosophical schools possess. But almost every work of the other schools states, for refutation, the materialistic views. Our knowledge of Indian materialism is chiefly based on these.”[9]

Available evidence suggests that Cārvāka philosophy was set out in the Barhaspatya sutras, probably in Mauryan times. Neither this text nor any other original text of the Cārvāka school of philosophy has been preserved. Its principal works are known only from fragments cited by its Hindu and Buddhist opponents. Cārvāka philosophy appears to have died out some time in the 15th century.

Countering the argument that the Cārvākas opposed all that was good in the Vedic tradition, Dale Riepe says, “It may be said from the available material that Cārvākas hold truth, integrity, consistency, and freedom of thought in the highest esteem.”[10]

Tattvopaplavasimha of Jayaraasi Bhatta

Beliefs

The Cārvāka school of philosophy had a variety of atheistic, materialistic, and naturalistic beliefs.

No life after death

The Carvaka believed there was no afterlife, no life after death

Springing forth from these elements itself
solid knowledge is destroyed
when they are destroyed—
after death no intelligence remains.[11]

Naturalism

The Carvaka believed in a form of naturalism, that is that all things happen by nature, and come from nature (not from any deity or Supreme Being).

Fire is hot, water cold,
refreshingly cool is the breeze of morning;
By whom came this variety?
They were born of their own nature.[11]

Sensual indulgence

Unlike many of the Indian philosophies of the time, the Carvaka believed there was nothing wrong with sensual indulgence, and that it was the only enjoyment to be pursued.

That the pleasure arising to man
from contact with sensible objects,
is to be relinquished because accompanied by pain—
such is the reasoning of fools.
The kernels of the paddy, rich with finest white grains,
What man, seeking his own true interest,
would fling them away
because of a covering of husk and dust?
While life remains, let a man live happily,
let him feed on butter though he runs in debt;
When once the body becomes ashes,
how can it ever return again?[11]

Religion is invented by man

The Carvaka believed that religion was invented and made up by men, having no divine authority.

The three authors of the Vedas were buffoons, knaves, and demons.
All the well-known formulae of the pandits, jarphari, turphari, etc.
and all the obscene rites for the queen commanded in Aswamedha,
these were invented by buffoons, and so all the various kinds of presents to the priests,
while the eating of flesh was similarly commanded by night-prowling demons.

Madhavacharya and Cārvāka

Madhavacharya, the 13th & 14th-century Vedantic philosopher from South India starts his famous work The Sarva-darsana-sangraha with a chapter on the Cārvāka system with the intention of refuting it. After invoking, in the Prologue of the book, the Hindu gods Shiva and Vishnu, (“by whom the earth and rest were produced”), Madhavacharya asks, in the first chapter:

…but how can we attribute to the Divine Being the giving of supreme felicity, when such a notion has been utterly abolished by Charvaka, the crest-gem of the atheistic school, the follower of the doctrine of Brihaspati? The efforts of Charvaka are indeed hard to be eradicated, for the majority of living beings hold by the current refrain:
While life is yours, live joyously;
None can escape Death’s searching eye:
When once this frame of ours they burn,
How shall it e’er again return?

Quotations attributed to Cārvāka from Sarva-Darsana-Sangraha

There is no heaven, no final liberation, nor any soul in another world,
Nor do the actions of the four castes, order, &c, produce any real effect,
The Agnihotra, the three Vedas, the ascetic’s three staves, and smearing oneself with ashes —
Brihaspati says, these are but means of livelihood for those who have no manliness nor sense.
In this school there are four elements, earth, water, fire and air;
and from these four elements alone is intelligence produced —
just like the intoxicating power from kinwa &c, mixed together;
since in “I am fat”, “I am lean”, these attributes abide in the same subject,
and since fatness, &c, reside only in the body, it alone is the soul and no other, and such phrases as “my body” are only significant metaphorically.
If a beast slain in the Jyothishtoma rite will itself go to heaven,
why then does not the sacrificer forthwith offer his own father?
If the Sraddha produces gratification to beings who are dead,
then why not give food down below to those who are standing on the house-top?
If he who departs from the body goes to another world,
how is it that he come not back again, restless for love of his kindred?
Hence it is only as a means of livelihood that Brahmans have established here
all these ceremonies for the dead, — there is no other fruit anywhere.
The three authors of the Vedas were buffoons, knaves, and demons.
All the well-known formulae of the pandits, jarphari, turphari, etc.
and all the obscene rites for the queen commanded in Aswamedha,
these were invented by buffoons, and so all the various kinds of presents to the priests,
while the eating of flesh was similarly commanded by night-prowling demons. [12]

Those parts which survive indicate a strong anti-clerical bias, accusing Brahmins of fostering religious beliefs only so they could obtain a livelihood. The proper aim of a Charvakan or Charvaka, according to these sources, was to live a prosperous, happy, and productive life in this world.

Astika schools, Buddhism, and Jainism versus Cārvāka

Cārvākas cultivated a philosophy wherein theology and what they called “speculative metaphysics” were to be avoided. The Cārvākas accepted direct perception as the surest method to prove the truth of anything. Though their opponents tried to caricature the Lokayatikas’ arguments, the latter did not completely reject the method of inference. Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya quotes S. N. Dasgupta:

“Purandara (a Lokāyata philosopher) […] admits the usefulness of inference in determining the nature of all worldly things where perceptual experience is available; but inference cannot be employed for establishing any dogma regarding the transcendental world, or life after death or the law of karma which cannot be available to ordinary perceptual experience.”[13]

While a Cārvāka’s thought is characterized by an insistence on pleasure seeking on one hand and Jainism is known to emphasize penance on the other, Buddhism is said to stand for a “middle way”, avoiding indulgence in sensual pleasures and penance alike.[14]

The Cārvākas did not deny the difference between the dead and the living and recognized both as realities. A person lives, the same person dies: that is a perceived, and hence the only provable, fact. In this regard, the Cārvākas found themselves at odds with all the other religions of the time.

Rejection of the soul as separate from the body led the Cārvākas to confine their thinking to this world only.

Abul Fazl on Lokāyata

Ain-i-Akbari, written by Abul Fazl, the famous historian of Akbar’s court, mentions a symposium of philosophers of all faiths held in 1578 at Akbar’s insistence. Some Cārvāka thinkers are said to have participated in this symposium.[15]

Under the heading “Nastika,” Abul Fazl has referred to the good work, judicious administration, and welfare schemes that were emphasized by the Cārvāka lawmakers. Somadeva has also mentioned the Cārvāka method of defeating the enemies of the nation. Contrary to popular opinion, these so-called “peasant religions(or opinions)”— the direct translation of the word “Lokayata”—never demanded that the practitioner give up happiness; all they said was that that the means of happiness is giving up that which contradicts Cārvāka, who claimed that (material) pleasures suffice to give happiness to the (material) body.

Notes

  1. ^ Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli; and Moore, Charles A. A Source Book in Indian Philosophy. Princeton University Press; 1957. Princeton paperback 12th edition, 1989. ISBN 0-691-01958-4. p. 227.
  2. ^ Monier-Williams (1899); the name literally means “speaking nicely”, from cāru “agreeable” and vāk “speech”
  3. ^ Radhakrishnan and Moore, “Contents”.
  4. ^ p. 224. Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  5. ^ Though this school of thoughts is not commonly considered as a part of six orthodox schools of Indian Philosophy, Haribhadra Suri, a Jain mendicant from c. seventh century, considers this school as a part of those six in his book ShaDdarshan Samucchaya. Potter, Karl H. (2007). The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies: Buddhist philosophy from 350 to 600 A.D.. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publications. pp. 435–436. ISBN 9788120819689. 
  6. ^ Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore. A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy. (Princeton University Press: 1957, Twelfth Princeton Paperback printing 1989) pp. 227–49. ISBN 0-691-01958-4.
  7. ^ Bhattacarya (2002), p. 6.
  8. ^ see Schermerhorn (1930).
  9. ^ Satischandra Chatterjee and Dhirendramohan Datta. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. Eighth Reprint Edition. (University of Calcutta: 1984). p. 55.
  10. ^ Riepe, Dale. The Naturalistic Tradition of Indian Thought (Motilal Banarasidas, Varanasi) p.75
  11. ^ a b c Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha by Madhava Acharya, translated by E. B. Cowell and A. E. Gough. Kegan Paul, Trench, and Trubner, London, 1914.
  12. ^ Madhavacarya, Sarvadarsana-sangraha, English translation by E. B. Cowell and A. E. Gough, 1904 quoted in Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya (ed.), Carvaka/Lokayata: An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies (New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 1990)
  13. ^ Indian Philosophy, p. 188
  14. ^ “There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable.” Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11)
  15. ^ Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. III, translated by H. S. Barrett, pp 217–218 (also see Amartya Sen [2005], pp 288–289)

Bibliography

  • Bhatta, Jayarashi. Tattvopapalavasimha (Charvaka Philosophy). 
  • Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad (1959). Lokayata: A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism. New Delhi: People’s Pub. House. 
  • Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad (1964). Indian Philosophy: A Popular Introduction. New Delhi: People’s Pub. House. 
  • Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad (1969). Indian Atheism: A Marxist Analysis. Kolkata: Manisha. 
  • Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad (1976). What Is Living and What Is Dead in Indian Philosophy. New Delhi: People’s Pub. House. 
  • Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Mádhava Áchárya (1996) [1882]. The Sarva-darsana-samgraha: or Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy. trans. E. B. Cowell and A. E. Gough. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-1341-3. 
  • Nambiar, Sita Krishna (1971). Prabodhacandrodaya of Krsna Misra. Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass. 
  • Phillott, D. C. (ed.) (1989) [1927]. The Ain-i Akbari. by Abu l-Fazl Allami, trans. H. Blochmann (3 vols. ed.). Delhi: Low Price Publications. ISBN 81-85395-19-5 (set). 
  • Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli; and Moore, Charles A. A Source Book in Indian Philosophy. Princeton University Press; 1957. Princeton paperback 12th edition, 1989. ISBN 0-691-01958-4.
  • Riepe, Dale (1964). The Naturalistic Tradition of Indian Thought (2nd ed. ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. 
  • Salunkhe, A. H. (in Marathi). Aastikashiromani Chaarvaaka. 
  • Sen, Amartya (2005). The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-9687-0. 
  • Pradeep P. Gokhale, The Cārvāka Theory of Pramāṇas: A Restatement, Philosophy East and West (1993).
  • John M. Koller, Skepticism in Early Indian Thought, Philosophy East and West (1977).
  • R. Bhattacharya, Cārvāka Fragments: A New Collection, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Volume 30, Number 6, December 2002, pp. 597–640.
  • R. A. Schermerhorn, When Did Indian Materialism Get Its Distinctive Titles?, Journal of the American Oriental Society (1930).

External links

Aroj Ali Matubbar- A Folk Philosopher of Bangladesh

Aroj Ali Matubbar

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aroj Ali Matubbar (Bengali: আরজ আলী মাতুব্বর) (1900–1985), a self-taught peasant-philosopher and apostate of Bangladesh, was born in British India on 17 December 1900 (Bengali year 1307) in the village of Lamchari in Charbaria union, about 11 km from Barisal town,[1] currently in Bangladesh. He was born to a poor farming family. He studied for only a few months at the village maqtab. This brief dabble in institutional education centered only on the Quran and other Islam studies. He gathered most of his knowledge on varied subjects, including science and philosophy, through his own efforts.[1]

Contents

Approach to life and creation

Matubbar proved to be a thinker who had a rationalist and humanist approach and who wrote against ignorance, superstition, and religious fundamentalism.[1] He came to be considered an iconoclast for writing against established religious doctrines. For example, he questioned Islamic law of inheritance as he failed to reconcile the suggested mode of sharing of inherited property. He wrote several books braving his lack of formal schooling. Aroj Ali’s writings reflect his philosophy about life and the world in simple language.

Matubbar befriended a number of scholars and academics of Barisal town, including Professor Kazi Golam Kadir and Professor Muhammad Shamsul Haque. His books were always in danger of being banned by government that since they contained certain religious claims. Matubbar was arrested and taken into police custody for his book, Sotyer Shondhaney (The Quest for Truth).[2] He was subjected to harassment and threat for his writings throughout his life, as many of them challenged religious statements and claims.[2]

Early life

Matubbar lost his father in his early age. When he was 12 years old, his inherited property of 2 acres (8,100 m2) of land was auctioned off as the minor boy was unable to pay land tax. The landless boy faced even more critical crisis when a local usurer called him out of his ancestral homestead. Destitute Araz Ali grew up somehow on the charity of others and by working as a farm labourer. He could not attend in any school due to his poverty. A kindhearted man helped him finish the Bangla Primers. Persevering as he was, he kept on reading more and more. To satisfy his thirst for knowledge he studied all the Bangla books in Barisal Public Library like a serious student. Philosophy as a subject interested him most, but there were not enough books in the collection there. A teacher of philosophy at the B M College, Kazi Ghulam Quadir, was impressed by his depth of knowledge and understanding, so he helped him borrow books from the college library. This is how his mind was shaped.

Living

Due to financial constraints, Matubbar could not pursue any academic course or achieve and formal institutional degree. He lived mostly on subsistence farming. He learned surveying techniques and began his life as a private land surveyor in his locality. This enabled him to accumulate some capital and he could own some land to start farming.

Founder

He founded Araz Monjil Public Library at a cost of 60 thousand Taka in a remote village of Barisal District under the funding of Aroj Ali Matubbar trust fund.

Death

He died on 15 March 1985 (1st Chaitra of the Bengali year 1392 ) in Barisal, Bangladesh. He donated his eyes for transplantation after his death.[1] He donated his body which was received by the Anatomy Department of Sher-e-Bangla Medical College and used for dissection by the medical students. After his death in 1985, Aroj Ali Matubbar came to be regarded as prolific thinker that rural Bangladesh ever produced, and an iconoclast who was not afraid of speaking out against entrenched belief and superstitions.[3]

Writings and publications

Matubbar had to take a lot of trouble for publishing his books. He himself drew the cover of his first book which was written in 1952 and published twenty one years later in 1973 under the title Satyer Sandhane. This book gained him reputation in the locality as a “learned man”. In the preface he wrote:

“I was thinking of many things, my mind was full of questions, but haphazardly. I then started jotting down questions, not for writing a book, but only to remember these questions later. Those questions were driving my mind towards an endless ocean and I was gradually drifting away from the fold of religion.”

He made six propositions in this book which reflected the nature of his philosophical questions. These are:

Proposition 1 : dealt with soul containing 8 questions Proposition 2 : dealt with God containing as many as 11 questions Proposition 3 : dealt with after-world (paralok) containing as many as 7 questions Proposition 4 : dealt with religious matters containing as many as 22 questions Proposition 5 : dealt Nature containing as many as 10 questions Proposition 6 : dealt matters containing as many as 9 questions

The eight questions he posed in the first proposition exemplify his approach. These are (a) Who am I (self)?, (b) Is Life incorporeal or corporal ? (c) Is mind and his/soul one, and the same? (d) What is the relationship of life with the body and the mind? (e) Can we recognize or identify life? (f) Am I free? (g) Will the soul without body continue to have ‘knowledge’ even after it leaves the body at death? and finally (h) How does life can come into and go out of the body?

Books

He was a different type of writer. Because of his rural background it was not possible on his part to remove darkness covering the society, but with the dim torch he held, he tried to see the truth, wherever he could, without fear or doubt.[4] In Bangladesh, his writings were censored.[5] Following are his writings:

  • Shotter Shondhaney (The Quest for Truth) (1973)
  • Sristir Rahasya (The Mystery of Creation) (1977)
  • Anuman (Estimation) (1983)
  • Muktaman (Free Mind) (1988)

Several of his unpublished manuscripts were published posthumously under the title of Aroj Ali Matubbar Rachanabali. Some of his writings have been translated into English and compiled in a volume published by Pathak Samabesh.

Recognition and awards

Matubbar was little known to the elite educated society of the country during his life-time. His first book published in 1973 was rich with secular thought but caught little attention. It is only in the final years of life that he came to be known to the enlightened society of the country. His writings were collected and published. People in general started to take interest in his books, which although refelcted an untrained mind, posed a number of intriguing questions. Soon he rose to eminence albeit after his death in 1985.

  • Life Member of Bangla Academy, inducted in 1985 [1]
  • Awarded Humayun Kabir Smriti Puraskar (Humayun Kabir Memorial Prize) in 1978 by the Bangladesh Lekhak Shibir [1]
  • Award of Honour by the Barisal branch of Udichi Shilpigoshti in 1982 [1]

References

External links

Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aroj_Ali_Matubbar

Dr. Hosur Narasimhaiah

Courtesy:  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dr. Hosur Narasimhaiah (Kannada: ಡಾ. ಎಚ್.ನರಸಿಂಹಯ್ಯ, 6 June 1921 — 31 January 2005) was a physicist, educator, freedom fighter and rationalist from Karnataka, India. He was popularly known as HN. He was conferred Padma Bhushan by Government of India in 1985.

Contents

Early life

He was born in Hossur, a village near Gauribidanur in Karnataka, India. His parents were poor, illiterate and belonged to a disadvantaged caste. Upon completion of elementary education, he left for Bangalore where he joined the National High School, Basavanagudi, in 1935. He received his B. Sc. (Honors) and Master’s degree in Physics with first class from Central College of Bangalore (1946). The same year Narasimhaiah started his academic career as a lecturer in National College, Bangalore.

He taught from 1946 until 1957 when he proceeded to Columbus, Ohio to get his PhD degree in Nuclear physics from Ohio State University (1960). During 1961-72 he led National College, Basavanagudi, Bangalore, as its principal. During 1967-68, as a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Narasimhaiah taught as a Visiting Professor at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois. In 1962, he founded the Bangalore Science Forum, which conducts a weekly series of public lectures on science topics.

As the Vice-Chancellor of the Bangalore University from 1973–77, he introduced psychology, social work, drama, music and dance as subjects. He went on to serve the State Legislative Assembly; and in 1984, received the Padma Bhushan from the Indian Government. At the time of his death on January 31, 2005, Dr. Narasimhaiah was the President of the National Education Society.

Contributions

Narasimhaiah had interactions with Mahatma Gandhi and translated Mahatma Gandhi’s Hindi speech into Kannada, when the latter visited the National High School.

He published a collection of essays entitled “Tereda Mana” (”ತೆರೆದ ಮನ’) (Open Mind) and an auto-biography named “Horaatada Haadi” (’ಹೋರಾಟದ ಹಾದಿ’), (The Path of Struggle) which were awarded sahitya academy book prizes.

“Do not accept anything without questioning” was his motto in life. Keeping with this, his office was adorned with a quotation of Albert Einstein on the wall “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” and a question mark-signifying a spirit of inquiry. He was an atheist. Prof.V.T.Srinivasan, the then Principal of Vijaya college, Bangalore was a staunch believer in God and both used to advocate their faith through letters in the Deccan Herald daily.In spite of this they were close friends.

After he returned to National College with his doctorate degree from the US, with the help of friends from NAL, IISc., and elsewhere he started The Bangalore Science Forum. This non-profit organisation has already conducted more than 1,800 popular science lectures by eminent scientists and over 525 popular science films so far.

During his tenure as Vice-Chancellor, he constituted and chaired The Committee to Investigate Miracles and Other Verifiable Superstitions, to scientifically investigate claims of miracles and paranormal phenomena. The committee challenged the claims of Sathya Sai Baba, one of the most prominent “godmen” of India, who said that he could materialize holy ash and gold chain from nothing. A public controversy ensued, causing some of the godman’s followers to desert him. The committee was also involved in a controversy with Sai Krishna of Pandavapura (a tiny village near Mysore), a mini-Avatar and an alleged protégé of Sathya Sai Baba. See allegations against Sathya Sai Baba. In 1983, he was elected the President of Indian Rationalist Association.

A Hindu by birth, Narasimhaiah often refused to follow religious beliefs blindly. He refused to tonsure his head when his father died and more famously, ate food during a solar eclipse to show it does not cause indigestion, a reason for which some Hindus go on fasting.

Awards

Dr. H.Narasimhaiah was conferred the Padma Bhushan, one of the top civilian awards instituted by Government of India for his services in the field of education in 1985. He received the Tamrapatra award for his participation in the Indian Freedom Struggle. For his contribution to the popularisation of science he won the Sir M Vishweshwaraiah Award. He was also the only Indian Fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP International), set up by Paul Kurtz in the USA.

References

  • Haraldsson, Erlendur Ph.D. Miracles are my visiting cards ISBN 81-86822-32-1, published by Sai Towers, Prashanthi Nilayam (1997) chapter 21 The Critics
  • Narasimhaiah, Dr. H. (Editor) Science, Nonscience and Paranormal, Bangalore Science Forum (1987)

External links

Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._Narasimhaiah

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.

Contents

History

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


References

External links

http://nirmukta.com/2010/03/24/basava-premanand-featured-on-australian-tv-show-youtube-video/