Mangaluru, Dec 26 2019: In a society besotted with superstitions of various types, kinds and hues the voices of reason have to be raised continuously to counter them. The annular solar eclipse of December.26th 2019 was a golden opportunity to doomsayers of the country.
All sorts of natural disasters have been predicted along with personal problems for those with particular signs of the zodiac. To bely their own predictions or rather decrease their intensity, some times to such an extent as to totally nullify them numerous solutions have been proposed of course each one of them involving some financial benefit to the priestly class.
Like the politicians who love draughts, the priests love eclipses. More the merrier seems to be their motto! Though the former are not very predictable the eclipses have good calculations for predicting them. So, they can be planned for in advance and sometimes a decade before hand-because every astrologer worth his salt would like to conduct rituals to ward off the ill effects of these natural celestial events!
While astrologers are supernaturalists out to make a fast buck there are few professionally qualified ones too who add salt to these wounds. Recently a video of an alleged practitioner of evidence based medicine has been doing rounds on whatsapp university which has been giving ‘scientific reasons’ for a number of eclipse related superstitions like faster multiplication of viruses in water during eclipses without even remembering the pre-medical school science that viruses can multiply only in other living cells. Such have led to confusions among the public and we who stand for the propagation of rational thinking decided to counter such nonsense by the best available method- defy those very strictures and practice what we stand for. So, it was decided to expose ourselves to the allegedly harmful radiations of the eclipsed sun and also eat under these very deadly rays which according to some cause a number of illnesses.
So, an event of swimming, watching and eating under the eclipse was organized at the Mangalore City corporation swimming pool by members of various progressive organisations with interested members of the public being welcome. Just before the eclipse came to its maximum coverage, some of us swam in the pool and I gave an interview with more than half my body under the water! We also gave bytes with our bodies totally exposed to the ‘deadly rays’ of the eclipsed sun. There were a good number of youngsters too including various professionals like doctors, engineers, lawyers etc. There were also office bearers of a number of progressive organisations. The youngest of the lot was Aarushi a two year old from Belthangadi whose parents Sujith and his wife are teachers. There was Paro a first standard student who had brought her parents Vivek an assistant professor of Marine Engineering at Srinivas College of Engineering and her mother Jahnavi who has recently completer her B.Ed! Balakrishna Parkala had come all the way from Udupi to swim under the eclipsed sun! A collage made of the reflected eclipsed sun under various stages by Dr.Sai Giridhar Kamath is also attached.
The event was organized by the Dakshina Kannada Rationalist Association and Aid without Religion Trust.
Narendra Nayak, President, FIRA and Managing Trustee, Aid Without Religion Trust