On 10th of March, 2012, leading Indian rationlist Sanal Edamaruku was called out to a Mumbai chapel to investigate claims that a statue of Jesus was spontaneously weeping tears. Despite his long a colourful career debunking superstitions and religious myths, there was no way that Sanal could have foreseen that the reaction to his simple explanation – that the ‘weeping’ was caused by the capillary action of water from a nearby blocked sewage drain – would change his life forever and become a watershed case in securing India’s secular future.
Natwar Singh is a gifted story teller. But he does not mind to use his talent for a dirty job. His pretentious tale of Margaret Thatcher’s alleged admiration for Chandraswami, that is hitting the media these days, is a brazen-faced attempt to bring the shady polit-tantrik, entangled in numerous high profile criminal cases, back into the match. It is appalling to see the former Indian cabinet minister and professed rationalist prostituting himself for such a service. But alas, if his story is true, it’s not the first time.
Apr 10, 2013
Natwar Singh did a disgrace to India by projecting it as a country of snake charmers and superstitious beliefs. Even a child can tell that he was trying to promote a religious con-man like Chandraswami thus denigrating the image of India.
The Rationalist Association (UK) has launched the Second Online Petition in Sanal Edamaruku’s support. The first one, calling upon the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India and the Archdiocese of Mumbai to encourage the withdrawal of blasphemy charges against Sanal Edamaruku has so far been signed by 12453 people (counting…), among them Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, John Opie and many other prominent Rationalists. However, so far the Catholic authorities did not move.
In December 2012, Sanal Edamaruku visited Spain. He traveled across the country, met with rationalists, skeptics and atheists from all walks of life – among them many scientists, artists, students and professionals – and gave talks in Barcelona, Madrid, Granada and Gijon. In the first of his speeches, held on 15th December in Barcelona’s Civic Centre, Sanal provided insight into nature and mechanisms of various facets of the Indian belief in the paranormal and into the techniques of rationalist work.
Now you can see Sanal Edamaruku’s Barcelona speech on YouTube: click here.
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Sanal Edamaruku has been special guest on TWL Live, an internet TV show and podcast on issues of science, skepticism and atheism. In the live program on 24 February, he speaks about a childhood event that prompted him to become a rationalist activist, about dangerous superstitions enjoying political support in India, about the Mantra Healing Centre and many other topics .... Now on YouTube.
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The March/April issue of the American magazine The Humanist is just out with a long interview with Sanal Edamaruku. Sanal talks to the historian and writer Ryan Shaffer about his background, his childhood, his rationalist father, his academic interests and intellectual influences, about his work and success in India, about religion and state, the ongoing case, the draconic blasphemy law and about the future.
On 20th February, Tiempo Real, Latin America’s biggest TV network, has broadcast an interview with Sanal about the situation in India, his rationalist work and the blasphemy case against him. You can see it here.
Tiranga Bangle is the name of a new product on the great Indian superstition bazaar. This copper bracelet promises to relieve you from pain, cure a range of illnesses including gout and arthritis, protect you from the damaging influence of radioactivity and boost your energy, strength and vitality. Such claims are nothing very special in a country where scores of lucky charms, miraculous pendants, protective amulets, healing crystals and holy oils are out to lure the gullible and the fearful. But this is a slightly different story. And it is alarming.
I feel worried about India’s future. There is an alarming erosion of intellectual and artistic freedom in my country.
The fate of Kamal Haasan, great actor and rationalist, is yet another case in point. I heard his emotional statement the other day, considering exile as his last resort to further unfold his creative talent. I feel pained.
Rationalist International has now an official page on Face Book. Please visit this page frequently for regular updates, news and links to wonderful articles. Mark your “Like” on the Rationalist International page, make comments, share articles and links and make it vibrant. Here is the address:
Prof. Dinish Mishra, prominent writer, scholar and President Emeritus of the Indian Society of Authors urged the Prime Minister of India in a letter sent on 3 February, to take up necessary steps to ensure the dropping of all malicious charges against Sanal Edamaruku. Full text of the letter is given below.
I write to you as the president of the Finnish Humanist Union, as an Honorary Associate of Rationalist International and as a close friend of Sanal Edamaruku since decades.
As you may know, Sanal is living in Helsinki since June 2012. I am glad that the Finnish Humanist Union is in a position to offer him a safe though modest base outside India from where he is fighting the blasphemy cases launched against him in India by religious zealots backed by the Roman Catholic Church. This case, based on a draconian law from colonial times, is posing a threat to Sanal’s freedom and even to his life, as we got confidential information about a plot to attack him if arrested.
20th December, 2012. Doom is looming large. Our world is claimed to come to an abrupt end tomorrow. One of the few places on earth expected to be spared is the French village of Bugarach, south west of Carassone. Nestled in the shadows of the Pyrenees, it is a legendary place. Some 800 years back, Pope Innocent III launched here a bloody crusade to extinguish Cathar heresy. Tomorrow, aliens with a flying saucer are expected to land here to rescue the chosen ones. Fearing the worst, the mayor of Bugarach has called in police to cordon off the alien landing place....
Click here to see the video
In a long and very open interview, Sanal Edamaruku speaks in Stockholm to Pallavi Polanki from FIRSTPOST about the draconian Blasphemy Law that has to be abolished, about his life in exile, about his "underground" times in Delhi, about failed attempts to win the support of Indian politicians and about his next plans. (Click here to read the interview)
This TV program is a breakthrough. CNN IBN, a leading English-language channel, started a campaign for the freedom of Sanal Edamaruku. “Does a rationalist deserve to be jailed for questioning a religious miracle?”, asked firebrand moderator Sargarika Ghose on 4th December in CNN IBN’s flagship program Face the Nation, calling upon the public to take a stand. The response was impressive: people from all walks of life expressed unequivocal support for Sanal, on camera, on twitter and on facebook. The wave keeps running... And 87% of the viewers who participated in a public internet ballot answered the question “Are blasphemy laws out of place in a secular democracy?” with a clear Yes! The blasphemy law should go.
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Travelling South and North Ireland during the last week of November, Sanal Edamaruku spoke in public meetings in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast and met politicians, professors and students and supporters of atheist and rationalist organisations in several places. Before he left for Germany, the leaders of Atheist Ireland, who organized and hosted his journey, invited Sanal to visit the village Ballinspittle, the place of the famous Catholic “miracle” of the “Moving Mary” statue.
Sanal Edamaruku speaks about the bigger frame of the Blasphemy case against him, about the Vatican’s plans for India, Catholic miracles and a “Saint exportable”. He tells how he escaped a trap set for him and explains why the Indian blasphemy laws have to be abolished
“Ireland’s blasphemy law is being cited by Islamic states 'as justification' for persecuting religious dissidents.... World public opinion has to be raised to the issue of blasphemy laws. I am not so much worried about me; I am worried about the end of these laws” -- Sanal Edamaruku
The American journalist Ashley Cleek travelled all the way to India to shed some light upon the background of the blasphemy case against Sanal Edamaruku. Here is her report
“..... I met Edamaruku three years ago in Delhi. But this time, we spoke over Skype, because he has decamped to Europe, for “an extended lecture tour.” Edamaruku faces jail time back home. So what happened?
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Sanal Edamaruku faces court for revealing 'tears' trickling down a statue of Jesus came from clogged drainage pipes
When water started trickling down a statue of Jesus Christ at a Catholic church in Mumbai earlier this year, locals were quick to declare a miracle. Some began collecting the holy water and the Church of Our Lady of Velan Kanni began to imagine a future as a site of pilgrimage.
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Click here to see the announcement
Senator Ivana Bacik greets Sanal Edamaruku at Atheist Ireland briefing for politicians, where he met with TDs (Deputies) and Senators today (22 November) to speak about his case and the blasphemy laws in India. Click here to see a clipping.
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
A large audience gathered at London's Free Word Centre this lunchtime for a free event organised by the Rationalist Association and Index on Censorship in support of Sanal Edamaruku, the Indian rationalist facing blasphemy charges after he debunked a supposed miracle involving a dripping crucifix at a Catholic Church in Mumbai. The event was a panel discussion featuring Sanal alongside the retired appeals court judge Stephen Sedley, the distinguished philosopher Richard Sorabji, and the journalist Salil Tripathi, who has written widely on free speech and Hindu nationalism in India.
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Paul Kurtz, American skeptic, founder of modern secular-humanist movement and philosopher, passed away on 20 October 2012. He was 86 years old. He was Honorary Associate of Rationalist International and also Honorary Associate of Rationalist Association (formerly RPA) of UK . In 1999 Kurtz received International Humanist Award by the IHEU, and in 2000 he received International Rationalist Award by the Rationalist International.
Accepting an invitation of the Polskie Stowarzyszenie Racjonalistów (Polish Society of Rationalists, PSR), Sanal Edamaruku toured Poland this July. It was both, a fascinating and insightful journey through the history of Poland and a lively and cordial exchange with rationalists all over the country.
Małgorzata Koraszewska and Andrzej Koraszewski from Poland have been elected Honorary Associates of Rationalist International. This is in recognition of their relentless and committed services for the rationalist cause in Poland and far beyond. Writing and publishing hundreds of enlightening articles and translations of today’s most powerful voices of reason, science and emancipation into Polish language, Andrzej and Malgorzata have inspired a generation of young rationalists and supported them swimming against the tide in a once deeply religious country. Especially by creating the rich and lively portal racjonalista.pl as an intellectual catalytic force, they have helped significantly in building a strong and dynamic rationalist movement in Poland and connecting it to rationalists all over the world.
“I can understand that they might be inspired by the stories of Inquisition and Witch Hunting in the middle ages. We live in 21st century. There are courageous people who would defend the right to speak what they are convinced about, even if stakes are invoked against them. I am one amongst them. I would not apologize nor succumb to any pressures.”Read it in English / Deutsch / Español / Polski
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The Catholic Church is famous for it’s preposterous fabricated miracles. The church has an interest in promoting innumerable bones of saints with allegedly curative properties, mystical shrouds and apparitions of the blessed virgin mary - they confer a sense of spiritual authority upon the church and help raise funds.Read it in English / Polski
Early last month Sanal Edamaruku, head of the Indian Rationalists Association had claimed on TV that the water seeping out of a cross near Vile Parle was fake.Read the article
Man files complaint against Sanal Edamaruku who dismissed water dripping from Jesus statue as due to capillary action, saying he had made statements against the Church. Read the article
BEASTcast 28: Sanal Edamaruku
Posted by Josh Bunting On April - 15 – 2012
Janakpuri, one of the largest residential colonies in Asia, is located on the outskirts of New Delhi. In a sub-lane of one of the main residential blocks lives Sunderlal Bhargav. From behind the bamboo curtains covering his veranda in the ground floor, clouds of white smoke are soaring into the air. Holy mantras are being recited. In front of the fire, with an excited face, sits Alison, a blonde TV anchor from Australia. Vis a vis a jovial fat man clad in white, chanting relentlessly holy words. That is Bhargav. He is a holy man. Bhargav and Alison have struck a deal.
Its twenty three years now. On 24th February 1989, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwa against Salman Rushdie, author of “The Satanic Verses”. There was nothing very new about a religious leader calling for the murder of a writer because he did not like his books. Or perhaps more precisely: because he vaguely sensed irreverence in his expressions without even going to the bother of reading a line. Religious leaders, if only powerful enough, have always claimed the right to silence any voice that does not sing their song. Not only Islam - the history of Christianity is full of Khomeinis, indexing books and burning “heretics’ alive. Dogmatism cannot stand intellectual confrontation. It needs heavily guarded, air-tight protectorates to survive.
A related article by Sanal Edamaruku in Malayalam.
There is hullaballoo in the Vatican, since sensitive and highly embarrassing internal documents were leaked to the media. Over the past month, “Vatileaks” produced three major scandals: revelations of cronyism and corruption governing the papal state, the rumor of a murder plot against the pope, and allegations of sinister deals of the Vatican Bank.
Saudi newspaper columnist Hamza Kashgari (23) is in great danger of being killed - with or without a court verdict. His fate lies in the hands of blood-thirsty Saudi clerics.
The world famous Egyptian movie and stage actor Adel Emam* has been sentenced in absentia to three months jail for allegedly offending Islam and its symbols. He has one month to appeal against the sentence. The case was brought by a lawyer linked to an Islamist group. It refers to Emam’s performance a 2007 film and a 1998 stage play about an Arab dictator.
Prof. Richard Dawkins welcomed a decision by the British government barring free schools from state-funding if they teach creationism in science classes. The decision comes in the wake of the British Humanist Association’s powerful campaign against creationism, spearheaded by Dawkins and supported by 30 leading educationists and scientists.
Indian Rationalists have developed a novel way to immunize villagers against a very special disease that is rampant in India, highly communicable and extremely dangerous: superstition.
On 11th November 2011, Le Monde published an article about Sanal Edamaruku and the work of the Indian Rationalists, titled:The Indian who does not like the gurus. Read the full text (in French).
The event lived up to its name. In Zurich, the premiere of the Denkfest was put on stage this September. Under direction of the Swiss Freethinkers, it turned out to be a vibrant celebration of critical and scientific thinking on a high level.
How one rationalist is taking on the gurus.
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Indian guru tries to kill man with tantric ritual live on TV New York Daily News • Indian guru has killing in mind The Sun • Sceptic challenges guru to kill him live on TV Times Online • Tantric tries killing sceptic live on TV, fails Times of India • Radio 4 should not change its tune Telegraph.co.uk - Gill Hornby • Düşünce gücüyle öldürecekti (video) Internet Haber • 'Canlı yayında öldürürüm' dedi ama... Milliyet • Śmiał się, gdy hinduski guru próbował go "zabić" na wizji Wprost • Chciał "zabić" człowieka na wizji Wprost • 稱念力殺人 蘋果日報 (需訂閲)