In times of despair, even a slim hope of a better tomorrow can glow with enough light to show the way out of the gloom. The undaunted courage of India’s rationalists — few and far between — coming out in a show of solidarity to condemn the killing of Narayan Dabholkar, an illustrious member of their fraternity, who was killed in the Indian city of Pune in Maharashtra last week, is one such hope.
Each of these individuals has been receiving death threats over the years, just as Dabholkar did, for their attempts to show superstition for what it is — a corrosive mental agent. But in reiterating their resolve to continue fighting the scourge of superstition, they are ensuring that efforts of men like Dabholkar were not in vain. Their resolve is a salve to millions in the country, deeply hurt and shocked at the senseless killing of a man who spent the better part of his life pursuing a cause.
The cause is of burning relevance in India today where millions continue to be victims of superstition, helping perpetuate regressive and horrific practices by unscrupulous holy men. However, the onus of reformation is not just on rationalists; every individual, as well as the Indian government, needs to assume responsibility to eradicate this menace.
In the wake of Dabholkar’s murder, the government of Maharashtra’s ordinance last week making superstitious practices punishable by law is a step in right direction. Now, it is upto the people of India to make the change in themselves too.