Evolution, Science & Education in India

I have always admired how Indians seemed to have accepted and understood evolution better than most developed nations. I used to attribute it to Indian belief systems being more flexible and not as bound by scriptures.

But then the country’s education minister said this yesterday… “Nobody, including our ancestors, have said or written that they ever saw an ape turning into a human being.” and later called for removal of evolution theory from textbooks! #FacePalm

So thought of penning this quick note.  Hope to soon enhance this piece or write a new detailed piece based on my understanding of evolution. Continue reading “Evolution, Science & Education in India”

Vaishnava Jana To… A good man is one who feels another’s pain, shares another’s sorrow

Narsinha Mehta – Postal Stamp- India. Poet: Vasihnava Jana To

On Gandhi’s birth anniversary (2nd October), thought of writing this quick post about one of Gandhi’s favourite hymns.  A hymn that also often helps me form an opinion and decide on the course of action.

Almost every Gandhi feature includes a rendition of  “Vaishnava Jana To …” and many even think that it was Gandhi’s creation.

However “Vaishnava Jana To …” was actually written by the poet Narsinh Mehta, in the Gujarati language, way back in the 15th century.

While the entire poem is beautiful and profound, I have always been most drawn to the first two lines Continue reading “Vaishnava Jana To… A good man is one who feels another’s pain, shares another’s sorrow”

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. Continue reading “Learning From History – At Peace With History (The Sceptical Patriot)”

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 🙂

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. Continue reading “I Believe In Dr. Narendra Dabholkar”

Astrology vs Science & Reason | Which side are you on?

A few months back came the shocking news of the Palkar family suicide in Pune, where Arun Palkar(40), a well off electrical contractor consumed sleeping pills along with his wife (37) and children aged 11 & 6. He did so because he believed that Shani (Saturn) and Mangal (Mars) were so unfavourably placed in his horoscope that irrespective of what he did, he & his family would never be happy. It is likely that he even planned the suicide so as to rescue his family from present & future suffering. Continue reading “Astrology vs Science & Reason | Which side are you on?”

Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti – 20 Yr Convention

For the past 6 months or so, I have been associated with Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ANS), an organization that aims to promote rational thought in society and works for the elimination of superstitions, blind faith & customs. Many social movements tend to peak in about 3 years since inception and then tend to die out in another 3-5 years. However the ANS has been at work for a remarkable 20+ years. Continue reading “Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti – 20 Yr Convention”