The Tale of Three Indian Rationalists 

ArulMozhi.T.N.K 25/09/15

Article 51 A (h) of the Indian Consitution says that it is the duty of all citizens “to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”, but does India hold these ideals anymore? Does India respect and understand the need for scientific temper , spirit of inquiry and reform anymore? Why does India sit silently and watch proponents of such ideals being murdered in broad day light? 

From one language policy to one diet policy India is in the news for all the unwanted reasons. Was this the development that people of India voted for? Should the right-wing lunacy be left unchallenged, is there anything left of the "Left" in India?  
The harrowing tale of these three Indian rationalists show us the ignored reality and the current state of affairs in India..

Dr.Narendra Dhabolkar

Dr. Narendra Dabholkar was a doctor by profession and a social activist by passion. After practicing as a general practitioner for 12 years he left his profession and joined the One village one well movement. From then owards he fought for social justice and equality in the society.
In 1989, he founded the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), to cultivate and promote scientific attitude, scepticism, humanism and critical thinking among the people and used it as a platform to oppose and expose harmful superstitions, which exploit people.
Dr. Narendra Dabholkar was aware of the risk involved in exposing the godmen and their so called miracles and had received numerous number of threats throughout his life and was warned that he would meet the fate of Gandhi if he didn’t change his ways. Despite recieving serious threats, he refused police protection and had said that,
“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”. 
His deep courage, grace and resilience in facing adversity was very inspirational but it didnt come to his rescue when that fateful day arrived. 
On August 20th 2013 Narendra Dabholkar  while out on a morning walk, was shot down by two unidentified gunmen near Omkareshwar temple, Pune. The religious extremists after having warned him many a times finally lost to him when they decided to plant a bullet instead of their idea/narrative in him. The rationalist, Dr.Narendra Dabholkar who fought for the upliftment of the society was gifted with bullets for his service to fellow human beings.  

Comrade Govind Pansare

Two years after Dr.Narendra Dabholkar was assassinated, another Rationalist became the new target. Comrade Govind Pansare a left-wing stalwart, a veteran Communist leader and a staunch critic of the right wing groups was being monitored and closely followed.
His book that projected king Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as a secular leader was the bone of contention between Pansare and the Hindu extremists factions.
Chatrapathi Shivaji is seen as a Hindu icon by the right wing Hindutva organisation and Govind Pansare in his book- Shivaji Kon Hota? (Marathi for Who was Shivaji) postulated him as a secular ruler. This view of Pansare had irked a lot of Hindu extremists and Pansare like Dr.Narendra Dabholkar was assassinated by two motorcycle-borne assailants, when he was returning home from a morning walk.
Both Comrade Pansare and Dr.Narendra Dabholkar were shot four times and in a similar fashion. 

Dr MM Kalburgi

Six months after Comrade Pansare, Dr MM Kalburgi, renowned Kannada writer, former Vice-Chancellor of Kannada University, Hampi, research scholar and rationalist was gunned down by right wing extremists. 
Kalburgi was a very outspoken personality, and had been a staunch critic of idol worship, casteism, communalism and religious extremism. He was also a vocal supporter of rationalists and had often spoken out on the hostility faced by rationalists in modern India.
Comrade Pansare and Kalburgi were close associates and left ideologues. Like Pansare, Kalburgi too was shot down by two unidentified persons who arrived in a motorcycle at his residence. 

'Modus Operandi'

The pattern of killings reveal a similar modus operandi in all three cases and it is believed that there is a link between all these murders. The police also believe that the weapons used were also of similar make. A few suspects have been arrested already, and many right wing Hindu extremists factions are being linked to all three murders. The organisation that are suspected of murdering these three rationalists appear unfazed and have the audacity to appear in the media and defend the actions of their organisation members.
They dont have the slightest respect for the law of the land and are still allowed to roam free and issue more death threats to members of the civil society. 
The Government that is busy banning meat, porn, movies, and many other civil liberties are not the least bothered about the hate speech of these organisation nor the threat they pose to the law and order of the state. In certain cases the ruling party too appear on media and defends these despicable beings who claim to represent the views and sentiments of the majority Hindus. 

These despicable beings,

These barbarous religious fundamentalists don’t have any mandate or authority over the religions they claim to represent; they are nothing more than fringe groups thriving under the protection of the State and central governments.  They have already taken it upon themselves to police the nation.
They don’t care for any laws, and the Government doesn’t see them as a threat. The problem is not just the inaction of the Government, but its complicity in these actions. The trend is very clear, India is starting to become more and more intolerant, and if this fundamentalist virus is not contained and destroyed at the beginning stage, it might very soon become a problem to the functioning of the state and the civil society.

In today's India 

Religious fundamentalists want to cut your tongues, slit your throats, deny you your rights, choose your diet, choose your fashion, choose whom you sleep with, choose which religion you should follow, choose what movies you should watch, what music you should hear, and finally they also decide whether or not you are “Indian” enough for their India.
If you don’t pass their test, you will be asked to bugger off to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or wherever they please. If you don’t agree with them, you will be honoured with titles such as Sickulars, missionaries, anti-Nationals, NGO funded Sickular and many more. In other words, if you disagree with them they will stop treating you like an Indian or even a human for that matter and like in the case of these rationalists you might also be awarded with death. 
Religious intolerance is on the rise in South Asia and if this trend continues to go unchecked India might soon end up becoming a theocracy. 

The author can be reached at [email protected]