Growing up in India is an experience like no other. You are exposed to a myriad of colours, traditions and cultures. I cannot for a moment imagine an India without its tradition and culture. India devoid of its culture is a curry devoid of flavour. All that said, the country also has its problems. As Dr. Shahsi Tharoor put it has been reduced to “a poster child for third world poverty”. Illiteracy and superstition are rampant. I am writing this post to show how mainstream some superstitious beliefs are. There is an entire economy built around pseudo-science beliefs. These superstitions have engulfed the country with the advent of digital platforms. Social media is only making things worse. Well funded dogma peddlers have no trouble pushing their filth, while the rationalist minority struggles to be heard.
This concerns me a lot. India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan. India is positioned to be the work horse of the world with a young population. Illiterate, superstitious and poverty stricken youth is a scary prospect, not just for the country, but for the world. Reminds me of a quote (This is not my opinion):
So India’s problem turns out to be the world’s problem. What happened in India has happened in God’s name.
The problem’s name is God. -Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses
Superstitious practices are thriving. Kundali (horoscope) matching is a common wedding practice. An astrologer is consulted to check for compatibility(of horoscopes) of bride and groom.
I have first hand experience of dealing with godmen and fake babas. People devote their lives and life savings on phony men/women pretending to have supernatural abilities.
People spend insane amounts of money re-structuring perfectly functioning buildings in the name of Vastu. It is a pseudo science similar to feng shui.(Which ironically is also gaining popularity in India)
Homeopathy and alternative medicine are also on an upward trend. Testimonials from Bollywood celebrities and cricket superstars for India’s largest Homeopathic brand are on Dr.Batra’s webpage (They have clinics in every major city and have more than 375 doctors)
This is the website for Indian humanists. It has links to similar organizations. Websites for Vastu consultants are better made than this!
I think there is an alarming shortage of rationalists in India. I want to help this cause at an individual level. Any and all suggestions are appreciated.
I am currently in the US and would like to attend any free thinker events/conferences that take a global perspective of the problem. All suggestions are appreciated.
To develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform is one of the fundamental duties of the people of the Republic of India, according to the Constitution of India.
I am also planning to get a vocal, well-known rationalist to create a youtube series. ( Just in the Ideation phase. I am looking for content)
I would love to hear from this community.
PS: I in no way intend to hurt anyone’s feelings. My interest is in developing critical thinking and scientific temperement only.