mangalore today
Monday, August 19


“When you see all these gods, one can only say that these are real crap” - Narendra Nayak

“When you see all these gods, one can only say that these are real crap” - Narendra Nayak

Mangalore, Jan 11: Narendra Nayak remembers the Interview with CHARLIE HEBDO in 2013. Here is the translation in English.


narendra Nayak...

Now president of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, which, in India, has more than sixty groups across the country, Narendra Nayak has been fighting for more than thirty-five years to promote rational thought.
CHARLIE HEBDO: How can you be atheist in a country where the gods and the "holy men" are legion?

Narendra Nayak: When we see precisely these gods, all these religions, these superstitions present in India and that it raises the question of WHY there is much one can logically come to the conclusion that this is absurd and that are real crap. As for the "holy men" and other enlightened that abound in our country, yet it is full nonsense. Astrology is such an important place in the life of every day in India. Whether for a wedding, to open a box, before going on a trip ... As soon as you want to do something, it runs to the astrologer. And the latter, based on the position of the stars on the day of your birth, then advise you whether to continue with your project. My father believed in hard as iron, and each time there was a problem, he would see. As a result, he lost everything. And us.

What is the role of atheism in India?

The atheism is nothing new in India. Nehru, one of the founders of the country, was itself atheist, and this may seem surprising, but to become a member of some Indian political organizations, we must declare openly atheist. This is the case for one of the biggest parties Tamil Nadu, whose members regularly marched in the streets shouting slogans such as "God does not exist", "Whoever believes in God is a fool", "Whoever appropriates God is a thief”.  Recently [Editor’s note: May 10, 2013], who was elected to the post of Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah, is a declared atheist, and on the day of his enthronement he sworn in the name of the "truth" and not in the name of God. Even the founder of the Hindu nationalist movement, Hindutva, was atheist. Now it is true that, for young people who are still with their parents, peer pressure is enormous. Especially if the parents are practicing.

To believe or not to believe is not so important?

No. The real problem is the caste system. I myself belong to a family of Brahmins, the highest, and although I am repeatedly declared atheist caste people still consider me as a Brahmin. A Brahmin atheist, certainly, but a Brahmin. Similarly, a Dalit, an untouchable, will always be discriminated from other castes, he believes in God or not. If Siddaramaiah was elected to Karnataka, it is not because he is an atheist, but because he belongs to the Kurubas caste, the caste of shepherds, which is one of the largest in the state. The Kurubas therefore voted overwhelmingly for him, despite his atheism.

A paradoxical situation?

The Indians have a very compartmentalized way of thinking. They can behave quite rational way when they are on their workplace for example, but once they find themselves at home, they also revert irrational than sleeping in the street in front of them.

Rationalism has yet bright future in India?

If this country wants to progress, he could do it without a bit of rationalism. It is not so much to convert the entire population of the rationalism that help acquire a rational thought. This is also enshrined in the Indian Constitution, Article 51 A (h) states that it is the duty of every citizen to "develop a scientific spirit and humanistic." On the other hand, it will also allow the Indians to make savings. For observing all the rituals is expensive. Very expensive. When a person died, for example, requires that the soul goes to heaven. And that soul goes to heaven, you have to pay. For the temple priests, for the pujas, for the ceremonies, for meals for dozens, sometimes hundreds of people. If the family is poor, then it must borrow to meet their spiritual obligations. If it does not, the whole community will get over it because it will not allow the soul of the deceased to rise. It’s the same at weddings, where spending real fortunes for rituals and all the hoopla that goes with it. This can be counted in millions of rupees.

Interview by Patrick Chesnet.
Disclaimer: Translated from original French version printed in Charlie Hebdo using Google Translate. Errors in translation may exist and are unintentional.



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