Learning From History – At Peace With History (The Sceptical Patriot)

Just finished reading “The Sceptical Patriot”, a book that examines the veracity of popular “India Facts” like Invented the zero, Sanskrit is the best language for computers, India never invaded another country, India was once the most prosperous nation, Plastic surgery was developed in India … The author deals with several such “facts” that gets bandied over email, facebook, dinner conversations and more. He deals with them in a layman-friendly and mildly-funny text of 200 odd pages.

The aim of the book and also this post is not to mock, belittle or ignore India’s past achievements but to take a realistic view based on the evidence available. (more…)

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Question the guru. Question the sanskars.

Indian newspapers recently carried stories of the police allegedly using mumbo-jumbo tantriks to talk to the dead to solve murder mysteries.  Soon after came stories of a reputed media house publishing a book that claimed to unravel the journey of the soul and life after death. Later a well-known computer scientist supported the police’s attempts to talk to the dead. A few months prior to this was the Unnao gold dig where archeologists started digging for gold based on a seer’s dream. These are just a few of the countless cases of irrational behaviour that are so blatant and mainstream in India.

Why is it that despite science being such a prized subject in schools and colleges, do Indians do so badly at adopting a scientific approach? (more…)

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Pune Loksabha Candidates Comparison – Elections 2014

Pune is fortunate to have been offered decent candidates by most parties. However there are significant differences in their profiles. While several candidates have criminal cases against them, it needs to be noted that the cases against the major candidates are related to political protests and defying police orders in the process.

Below is my quick assessment of the major candidates. It is ofcourse based on my perception. I do not claim to be unbiased or objective. Do add comments with any additional inputs / info.

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Spare The Tree – This Gudhi

Happy Gudhi Padwa! The new year day for many Marathi households and also the day when thousands of mango, neem trees and many other plants get ripped of their leaves and flowers for a symbolic Gudi decoration.

The leaves and flowers are supposed to make the Gudhi more appealing. but maybe it is time to consider if the leaves and flowers are better off ‘alive and well’ on the plant or ‘dead’ on the Gudhi? Maybe the tree could be your Gudhi (put a silver pot over it for a day the tree wont mind :) Or even better, maybe we could welcome the new year by planting a sapling?

As students of science, shouldn’t we also be examining customs and beliefs in the light of the science of the day and with the context of the times we live in?

गुढी पाडवा आणि नवीन वर्षाच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा !

Wish you a Goody Gudi Padwa :)

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I Believe In Dr. Narendra Dabholkar

DabholkarI have been volunteering for Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (Maharashtra Committee for Eradication of Blind Faith), usually referred to as Anis, for over 3 years and was fortunate to be closely associated with Dr Dabholkar over that period. I write this in great shock, disbelief and sorrow.

For over two decades, Dr. Dabholkar fought against rampant superstitions in our society and for the cause of rationalism and humanism. While radicals and those with vested interests regularly tried to malign him and project him as someone opposed to religion, that was never the case. (more…)

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