Bachchan Temple Treks Are Disappointing

I used to think that Amitabh Bachchan was a great role model for Indians. But his regularĀ  treks to temples across India are consistently eroding his stature in my eyes.

Ref- Bollywood’s Bachchan walks barefoot to pray

India is anyway full of religious fanatics and superstitious people who would believe and follow so called god men and waste their lives believing in some hocus pocus.

The biggest name in India acting in such fashion only makes things worse. I am sure thousands of Amitabh followers would soon imitate Amitabh and maybe even try to make the idols drink milk!

In today’s India it seems “Science” and “Scientific Temper” are topics meant only for speeches but never for actual implementation.

Religion in India – Faith vs Reason

In my previous post, I wrote about the absence of scientific temper in India and the need for those well informed, to voice their opinions against superstitions and customs that have chained our society.

India today seems completely at the mercy of ill-placed faith. Instead of individuals standing on the shoulders of faith and rising to a higher level, we find that it’s today working the other way round. As festivals, miracle babas and religious processions get bigger, they are further pulling down the person caught in it.

What’s worrying is that despite affluence and higher education getting to the cities, the queues outside temples on a so called auspicious day, just keep getting longer. Even youngsters are caught in this. What’s the sense in visiting temples on the day of an exam? Why would God be good to you only because you visited a certain temple on a certain supposedly auspicious day? Wouldn’t God find good deeds and behaviour, the only thing that mattered?

Astrology: The dates for most marriages are determined by astrology that has no logical or scientific basis. I unfortnately too complied with this and married on a day that was supposed to be auspicious. It wasn’t because I believed that marrying on that date and time would really make a difference, but more because I just played along with what the elders in the family decided.
I think that was a mistake and I should have refused to comply, as that would not only have helped me feel better about doing the right thing, but perhaps might have also built up some awareness at least amongst those close to me.
Vaastu Shastra: I saw a TV show about “Vaastu Shastra” (Art of Building) a few days back and the lady expert was confidently dishing out rubbish on live TV. If a person has come to a stage where he believes that the reason why his business is not doing well is that his toilets are facing in the wrong direction, then I think he needs immediate medical attention and not Vaastu Shastra.

The Scientific Edge and its conspicuous absence in India

I am almost done reading the book “The Scientific Edge: The Indian Scientist from Vedic to Modern Times” by renowned scientist Jayant Narlikar. I have had this book for an year or so but for some reason I didn’t quite get to reading it.

Maybe I expected to find the usual glorification of India’s past without any of the requisite scientific evidence.

That’s unfortunately how it’s usually done in India. Glorification of the past is the crutch that Indians routinely lean on, to somehow feel at par with the developed nations.

The problem with this approach is that we do not feel ashamed of still being so far away from being driven by science. Tradition and religion still determine a majority of things in the life on an Indian.

However Dr. Narlikar takes a refreshingly scientific approach to the subject. He does highlight and celebrate ancient Indian science that has solid proof to support it. However he methodically debunks all claims that are based on just hearsay.

Theories like “The reference to an aircraft in the ancient epic Ramayana, is supposed to be undeniable proof of ancient Indian science of building flying machines.”

He also delves into modern-day fads like “Vastu Shastra” and age old ones like astrology.

I had no idea that even the claim to “Vedic Mathematics” was so hollow and doctored.

I learned a lot about Indian science and astronomy from this book. However the most important realization for me has been to publicly voice my opinion against superstitions and in favor of the scientific approach.

I have always privately aired my views against things like astrology, vastu shastra, zodiac signs, etc. I now intend to be more vocal about it.