Maharashtra has had a very old tradition of rationalists and social reformers.We had Saint Tukaram,Saint Nyaneshwar,Gadge Baba,Tukdoji Maharaj.Then we had Jyotiba Phule,Savitri Bai Phule(the first female teacher of subcontinent),Dr Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar,Veer Savarkar,Hamid Dalwai,Gopal Ganesh Agarkar,Nyaymurti Ranade,Shahu Mahraj etc.
Dr Narendra Dabholkar was murdered by so called warriors of Hindutva on 21/0812013.Its been 4 years but still we are waiting for justice.Dr Narendra Dabholkar was a doctor,a rationalist and the head of an anti-superstition organization called “Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti” which was founded by him in 1989.Its aim is to eradicate all kinds of superstition in Maharashtra.This organization has members from all religions,castes,tribes and professions.
Dr. Narendra Dabholkar used to campaign against superstitions,confronting dubious “tantriks” and so called saints who used to perform miracles like Narendra Maharaj,Satyasai Baba etc.He was a founding member of “Parivartan”,a social action center in Satara for the people of marginalized community.He was closely associated with Indian rationalist Sanal Edamaruku.He was the editor of a renowned Marathi weekly “Sadhna” which was founded by another social reformer “Sane Guruji” in 1948.He also served as the vice President of the “Federation of Indian Rationalist Association”.
Maharashtra ANIS has more than 200 centers in Maharashtra.Its aim is to make people think and to develop scientific temprament among people.Dabholkar always said that do not follow religion blindly.He questioned Astrology and demanded that the astrologer should either give the future in writing(and if the future is predicted wrongly then consumer forum should take action on him) or he should just clarify to the people that astrology is for entetainment purpose only.He fought against human sacrifice.He wrote many books mostly in Marathi and some are translated in Hindi.I am working on their translation in English.His book “Timiratun tejakade(From dark to light)” is one of the bestsellers.
ANTI SUPERSTITION AND BLACK MAGIC BILL
Since 1995 Dr. Dabholkar was trying to pass an anti superstion bill in Maharasthra.All the anti Human activities and a lot of superstitions were made a criminal act according to that bill.But that bill was being opposed by a lot of fundamentalists including the Political parties like “Bhartiya Janta Party” and Balasaheb Thackrey’s Shivsena.But after his death huge protests broke out and as a result of which after atleast 19-20 years of struggle this bill was passed in Maharashtra Assembly.He played a key role in banning of Devdasi pratha too.According to which girls were married off to God and they were thrown into prostitution..
He was attacked several times since 1983 but rejected Police protection.He used to say
“If I have to take police protection in my own country from my own people, then there is something wrong with me, I’m fighting within the framework of the Indian constitution and it is not against anyone, but for everyone.“.
On 20th Aug 2013,while out on a morning walk he was shot down in Pune.Dabholkar has originally donated his body to a medical college.But the autopsy made necessary by his murder left the leader’s body unfit for academic purposes.He was cremated without any religious rites.His pyre was lit by his daughter “Mukta” in contradiction to the tradition where the son lights the pyre.His ashes were collected without any religious ceremony and scattered over his farm.
The Maharshtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan samiti is still working with a lot of enthusiasm. His son Hamid Dabholkar(Narendra ji named his son “Hamid” in the name of great rationalist Hamid dalwai) and Mukta Dabholkar are working now for MANIS.The president of MANIS is Avinash Patil.After Dabholkar’s death many people like me have taken the sword to fight superstition in our hands..
This is the 1st part.I will post the translated version of his marathi speeches in the next parts to follow….
Jay Bheem !!