From: Scientific Temper Promotion Trust,

C/o. Chetana Mudranalaya, Ranade Road, Dadar, Bombay 400 028.

To: The Editor,

Times of India Daily, D.N. Road, Bombay 400 001.

13th October 1990

Dear Sir,

We are shocked to read the statement by Shri Premod Mahajan, the BJP Secretary, "there is no place for those who do not support the cause of Lord Rama in this country. Rama is just not a God, he is life and soul of this country." (Times of India, Bombay 11.10.1990)

This statement is highly inflamatory and provocative, inciting his followers against those "who do not support the cause (1) of Rama." We strongly condemn such an attempt.

Rama had killed Shambuka, whose only offence was that, he was performing a form of prayer etc., inspite of belonging to a lower caste. I am not suggesting that this "Rama" was actually born. But this story does appear in the epic Ramayana. The story portrays the personality which denies even an "open merit" seat to the downthrodden. We proudly state that we do not subscribe to such a repressive, unegalitarian attitude.

Stringent worship of one God or the other might have been followed by one section of the people or the other. But this feature had never been "the life and soul of the whole of this country". Nasadiya hymn challenges the belief that "some 'power' created the universe". 'Vaisheshik' philosophy by Kanad, 'Nyaya' by Gautama, and 'Sankhya' by Kapil go against obscurantism sought to be spread by fundamentalists. Charvaka had advocated atheism. It is natural that, with such a heritage India is a Secular Nation.

It is surprising that Shri Mahajan asks, "can you imagine any agitation for construction of a church in London or a mosque in Pakistan?" Apparently he is not aware that India had never been, is not and will not be, a Hindu State, and also that, in contrast to Secular India, these other countries are theocratic in nature. In England there is marked secularisation of social ethos. We call upon him to compare the rate of construction of churches in England with the mushrooming of places of worship in India. And less we speak about the conditions in Pakistan, the better. We also call upon him to stop injecting the venom by misguiding the people to believe that "India is a Hindu nation."

We would like to stress that there is no alternative to secularism. Religion is purely personal matter. We are confident that, those who do not follow secularism, in the letter and the spirit, and do not keep religion away from social fabric, do not have any future in our secular Republic.

Thanking you, Yours sincerely,

Dr. Rajeev Joshi, Trustee.

B.G. Deshpande, Ashit Apartments, Modi Baug, Pune 411 016.

Your issue of August 1990 is particularly good. Keep it up. Early in August a Pune Astrologer predicted earthquake at Koyna. As there was no scientific basis, I went to Koyna on the 17th and stayed there till the 20th. 19th was his D-day of earthquake. I talked to several people of Chiplun and Patan to allay their fears saying in particular that "I have come all the way from Pune not to die in an earthquake but to go back safe on the 20th." Which I did. Strangely the District Authorities inadvertently perhaps supported the astrologer. Now I am trying to lecture to the Administrators - if only they would agree to listen for one hour.

Keep it up. Yours sincerely, B.G. Deshpande. 21.9.1990.

Tushar J. Swadia, 38 Sunder Mahal, 141 N. Subhash Road, Bombay 400 020.

October 12, 1990.

As promised I am sending you herewith two xerox copies of News paper reports about Sai Baba's conference during November 1990 as well as a report of Onam celebrations.

It is surprising that, not only the President but various Government departments like Post & Telegraph, Civil Aviation and Defence are influenced by Sai Baba.

It becomes difficult for rationalist associations to fight against evils like blind faith etc., when the government through their different departments indirectly encourage such phenomena. We have to educate the masses through various staged performances, writing articles and using mass media for cultivating scientific temper. Your valuable contribution in promoting scientific and rational attitude will definitely pay the results when you will take help of Government machinery through your recent efforts in that direction which earned you the rare honour.

Latest issue of Indian Skeptic very interestingly brought out the inaccuracies in the Prophecies of Nostradamus. I hope the articles in future will be as interesting as the above referred topics.

The University of Regensburg neither approves nor disapproves of the opinions expressed here. They are solely the responsibility of the person named below.

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Last update: 22 July 1998