Saturday, December 24, 2011
भ्रष्टाचार किसे कहा जाए? ये सवाल हमेशा चुभने वाला होता है. ऐसे में यह और भी सोचनीय हो जाता है, जब दलितों/पिछडों को कही और तेजी से भ्रष्टाचार के मामलों में निशाने पर ले लिया जाता है. शेखर गुप्ता ने बहुत अहम और साहसिक लेख लिखा है, जिसमे उन्होंने क्रीमी लेयर के कथित सवर्णों की जन्मजात मानसिकता को टटोलने की कोशिश की है.
साथ ही एक मसला और खड़ा होता है. सांसद का चुनाव लड़ने के लिए एक से तीन करोड़ रुपये खर्च हो रहे हैं, ऐसे में खर्च कहाँ से आए? ज्यादातर एससी/एसटी/ओबीसी को चुनाव जीतने भर को पैसे नहीं होते, लेकिन समीकरण आरक्षण के चलते वो किसी तरह से जगह बना पाते हैं. तमाम राज्यों में वे राजनीति के शिखर पर भी पहुँचने में सफल हुए हैं.
इसी से जुड़ा एक मसला आरक्षण का है. बार बार इस पर सवाल उठते हैं. जो ख़बरें आती हैं, वो बेहद उटपटांग और पूर्वाग्रहों से ग्रसित और सर्वथा अविश्वसनीय. जैसे योग्य एस सी/एस टी प्रत्याशी नहीं मिल रहे. एससी/एसटी/ओबीसी के लोगों ने शून्य अंक पर संस्थान में प्रवेश ले लिए आदि-आदि.. जो हकीकत से परे होती है.
एक और समस्या है. मान लीजिए कि कोई मंत्री किसी कारोबारी/व्यक्ति को लाभ पहुंचा देता है. दोनों में लेन-देन का अघोषित समझौता हो जाता है. वही मंत्री कारोबारी का कोई मुकदमा कोर्ट में लड़ता है और उसे बतौर फीस सौ करोड़ रुपये दे दे और वह फीस पर कर भी दे दें. मतलब वैधानिक तरीके से अस्सी करोड़ रुपये कमा लें तो इसका परीक्षण कैसे हो!! वहीँ जब कोई संघर्षशील सांसद चाहे वह एससी/एसटी/ओबीसी हो या सामान्य श्रेणी का, उसे उसके लिए मंत्री बनना ही कठिन है. बन भी गया तो पैसे कमाने का तरीका न जानने के चलते उसका फंसना लाजिमी है!!
हाल ही में सोशल नेटवर्किंग में एक ट्वीट खूब लोकप्रिय हुई. उस पर भी गौर करना जरूरी है. पहले मूल प्रति देखें, फिर इस पर बात करते हैं.
I think we should have job reservations in all the fields. I completely support the PM and all the politicians for promoting this. Let's start the reservation with our cricket team. We should have 10 percent reservation for Muslims. 30 percent for OBC, SC /ST like that. Cricket rules should be modified accordingly. The boundary circle should be reduced for an SC/ST player. The four hit by an OBC player should be considered as a six and a six hit by a OBC player should be counted as 8 runs. An OBC player scoring 60 runs should be declared as a century. We should influence ICC and make rules so that the pace bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar should not bowl fast balls to our OBC player. Bowlers should bowl maximum speed of 80 kilometer per hour to an OBC player. Any delivery above this speed should be made illegal.
Also we should have reservation in Olympics. In the 100 meters race, an OBC player should be given a gold medal if he runs 80 meters.
There can be reservation in Government jobs also. Let's recruit SC/ST and OBC pilots for aircrafts which are carrying the ministers and politicians (that can really help the country.. )
Ensure that only SC/ST and OBC doctors do the operations for the ministers and other politicians. (Another way of saving the country..)
Let's be creative and think of ways and means to guide INDIA forward...
Let's show the world that INDIA is a GREAT country. Let's be proud of being an INDIAN..
अगर यह बयान अजीम प्रेमजी का है तो निहायत बचकाना है. क्या इस सवाल के बदले कारोबारियों ये पूछा जा सकता है कि अगर आपको एक लाख पचहत्तर करोड़ रुपये का स्पेक्ट्रम तीस हजार करोड़ रुपये में नीति बनाकर दे दिया जाता है और कारोबारी उसे बेचकर पैसा कमा लेते हैं और बड़े बन जाते हैं तो इसमें कौन सा बौद्धिक कसरत वे करते हैं. ये स्पेक्ट्रम का मामला नहीं है. हर क्षेत्र में ऐसा होता है और मुनाफे का कोई प्रतिशत नहीं तय होता. फिर ये मान लिया जाए कि अगर एससी/एसटी/ओबीसी वर्ग के लोग प्रभावी होते हैं और वे किसी दूसरे को इसी तरह से सार्वजनिक संपत्ति सौंपकर बड़ा कारोबारी बना दें तो इसमें कारोबारी बन जाने वाले की क्या योग्यता होगी?? यह तो अघोषित आरक्षण है!!
बहरहाल शेखर गुप्ता का (मेरी ओर से प्रशंसित) लेख
National Interest: The caste of corruption
Is there a caste or communal link to corruption and crime? Or, are your chances of being involved (and getting caught) in corruption cases higher as you go down the caste ladder? Nobody in his right mind would say yes to either of these. But let’s examine some facts.
Why is there a preponderance of this underclass among those charged with corruption, or even targeted in media sting operations? Here is a roll call: A. Raja and Mayawati (Dalit), Madhu Koda and Shibu Soren (tribal), Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav (OBC), are all caught in corruption or disproportionate assets cases. Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ashok Argal and Mahavir Singh Bhagora, caught in the cash-for-votes sting, are all SC/ST; among the BSP MPs in the cash-for-queries sting, Narendra Kushwaha and Raja Ram Pal (who is now in the Congress) are OBC, and Lalchandra Kol a Dalit. Of course, there are also some illustrious upper-caste representatives in the net: Sukh Ram, Jayalalithaa, Suresh Kalmadi. But there are far fewer of them. Could it be that the upper crust tends to be “cleaner” as a rule, or could it be that the system is loaded against those in the lower half of the social pyramid? The Sachar Committee report on the condition of Muslims also tells us that the only place where our Muslims have numbers disproportionately high in comparison to their population is jails. So, face the question once again: do Muslims tend to be more criminal than Hindus, or is the system loaded against them?
For another example, look at the BJP. Two of its senior leaders were caught on camera accepting cash. One, Dilip Singh Judeo, caught taking Rs 9 lakh, was a mere MP, but of a high caste, and was happily rehabilitated in the party, fielded in the election, and is now back in Parliament. The other, Bangaru Laxman, caught taking just Rs 1 lakh, was ranked much higher in the party; he was, in fact, the president, but much lower on the caste pyramid, a Dalit. He has been banished and isolated and is fighting the charges in that Tehelka sting case by himself. I am sorry to use this expression, but the party treated him as an utter outcast even as it continued to defend Judeo. What is the difference between the two except caste?
You want to take this argument to the judiciary? It has been loosely insinuated by many prominent people, including by some notable members of Team Anna, that a large number of our former chief justices have been corrupt. But who is the only one targeted by name (however unsubstantiated the charges)? It is Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, currently chairman of the National Human Rights Commission and, more importantly, India’s first Dalit chief justice.
The upper caste, creamy layer of our society is the most prejudiced, and yet the most dominant minority in any democracy in the world. That is why even the person representing Mayawati on otherwise brilliant funny-man Cyrus Broacha’s show on CNN-IBN always has a blackened face (Dalits are supposed to be dark-skinned, no?).
An interesting new turn has meanwhile taken place in the discourse over the Lokpal bill. Whenever asked to comment on the UPA’s ploy of reservations, members of Team Anna simply say they are happy to leave that entirely to the government. Leave something entirely to the government? When was the last time you heard Team Anna say that?
They are doing so because the caste card, howsoever cynical, has thrown them entirely off-balance. They are now paying for having built such an unrepresentative upper-crust leadership, deluded perhaps by the belief that this battle was theirs to win on Twitter, Facebook and television channels where their interlocutors were trumpeters or fellow travellers. They forgot that the battle for power and ideas is fought in a democracy’s parliament and within its institutions. They started to believe their own mythology of being apolitical. They did not realise that politics, in a democracy as diverse as ours, needs two essential pre-requisites: ideology and inclusiveness. Abhorrence of corruption is a universal virtue but not an ideology.
It was probably because of that philosophical abhorrence of politics, and the give-and-take, the unending deal-making it involves, that Anna did not set up a truly diverse and representative “Team” to begin with. They had the wisdom and the sincerity, they thought, and Indians, cutting across barriers of caste and religion, would be smart enough to see it. Representative inclusiveness, they probably believed, was part of our cynical electoral politics though that did not stop them from having a Dalit and a Muslim girl help Anna break his fast, making it the first time that a child was described as “Dalit” on a public stage in a mass rally.
Leaders of Team Anna now rightly say that theirs indeed is a political movement. But even if they assert that it is above electoral politics, they have erred gravely in not learning from the political class and building a representative leadership. It could have come from both their abhorrence and ignorance of politics, from a lack of respect for the political class, and an inability to appreciate that you need politics to create a sense of fairness, balance and empowerment in such a diverse society. That is the difference between Anna on the one hand, and Gandhi and JP on the other. Both of the latter made inclusive politics the vehicle of their revolutions. Team Anna, instead, tried to circumvent politics, and now finds itself right in the thick of it.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
If the combined opposition had sat down for weeks so as to find an issue to embarrass the UPA Government and make it a laughing stock before the whole country, they could not have thought of a better issue than the free gift presented to it initially by the UPA Government by insisting that it had decided irrevocably to allow the entry of multi brand retail leader super stores like Walmart, USA and then within a few days, with a whimper withdrawing the proposal.
As it is even initially this decision defied logic in view of the Punjab and UP elections and further known strong views against it of BJP / left and many states who had all the time opposed the entry of Walmart which would affect the lives of millions in the country.
Retail business in India is estimated to be a 400 billion dollars but the share of the corporate sector is only 5%. There are 50 million retailers in India including hawkers and pavement sellers. This comes to one retailer serving 8 Indians. In China it is 1 for 100 Chinese. Food is 63% of the retail trade, according to the information given out even by FICCI.
The claim by the Government that Walmart intrusion will not result in the closure of small retailers is a deliberate mis-statement. IOWA State University study in USA has shown that in the first decade after Walmart arrived in IOWA the state lost 555 grocery stores, 298 hardware stores, 293 building supply stores, 161 variety stores, 158 women apparels stores and 153 shoe stores, 116 drug stores and 111 men and boys apparels stores. Why would it be different in India with lesser capacity for resilience by the small traders.
The fact is that during 15 years of Walmart entering the market, 31 super market chains sought bankruptcy in 15 years. Of the 1.6 million employees of Walmart only 1.2% makes a living above the poverty level. The Bureau of Labour Statistics, USA is on record with its conclusion that Walmart’s prices are not lower than anyone else when compared to a typical families’ weekly purchases.
In Thailand supermarkets led to 14% reduction in the share of ‘mom and pop’ stores within four years of FDI permission. In India, 33-60 percent of the traditional fruit and vegetable retailers reported 15-30 percent decline in footfalls, 10-30 percent decline in sales and 20-30 percent decline in incomes across cities of Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh, the largest impact being in Bangalore, which is one of the most supermarket-penetrated cities in India.
The average size of the Walmart stores in the United States is about 10,800 sq. feet employing only 225 people. In that view is not the Government’s claim of increase in employment a canard.
Governments attempt to soften the blow by emphasizing that Walmart is being allowed only 51% in investment upto US$ 100 million. Prima facie the argument may seem attractive. But is Walmart management so stupid that when its present turn over of retails is 400 Billion Dollars it would settle for such small gain. No, obviously, Walmart is proceeding on a maxim of the camel being allowed to put its head inside a tent and the occupant finding thereafter that he is being driven out of it by the camel occupying the whole of the tent space. One may substitute Walmart to the camel in order to understand the danger to our millions of retailers.
The tongue in the cheek arguments by the Government that allowing Walmart to set up its business in India would lead to fall in prices and increase in employment is unproven. A 2004 Report of a Committee of US House of Representatives concluded that “Walmart’s success has meant downward pressures on wages and benefits, rampant violations of basic workers’ rights and threats to the standard of living in communities across the country.” By what logic does the Government say that in India the effect will be the opposite The only explanation could be that it is a deliberate mis-statement to help the multinationals.
Similar anti consumer effects have happened by the working of another Super Market enterprise namely Tesco of Britain.
A study carried out by Sunday Times shows that Tesco has almost total control of the food market of 108 of Britain’s coastal areas i.e. 7.4% of the country. The Super Markets like Walmart and Tesco have a compulsion to move from the territory from England and USA because their markets are saturated and they are looking for countries with larger population and low super market presence according to David Hogues, Professor of Agri Business at the Centre for Food Chain Research at Imperial Collage, London, because they have got nowhere else to go and their home markets are already full. Similarly a Professor of Michigan State University has pointed out that retail revolution causes serious risks for developing country farmers who traditionally supply to the local street market.
In Thailand, Tesco the foreign owned super market controls more than half the Thai market. Though Tesco when it moved into Thailand promised to employ local people but it is openly being accused of unfair trading practices and conflict with local businesses. As for the claim that these super market dealers will buy local products is belied because in a case filed against Tesco in July 2002 the Court found them charging slotting fees to carry manufacturers products, charging entry fee of suppliers. In Bangkok, Grocery Stores’ sales declined by more than half since Tesco opened a store only four years earlier.
In Malaysia seeing the damage done by the super market Tesco since January 2004 a freeze on the building of any new super markets was imposed in three major cities and this when Tesco had only gone to Malaysia in 2002.
It is worth noting that 92% of everything Walmart sells comes from Chinese owned companies. Indian market is already flooded with Chinese goods which are capturing the Indian market with cheap goods and traders are already crying foul because of the deplorable labour practices adopted by China. Can in all fairness, Indian Government still persist in keeping retail market open to foreign enterprises and thus endangering the earnings and occupation of millions of our countrymen and women.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
डॉ दुर्गाप्रसाद अग्रवाल
इन दिनों धर्म की भूमिका की पड़ताल करने वाली अनेक मह्त्वपूर्ण किताबें आई हैं। सैम हैरिस की द एण्ड ऑफ़ फ़ेथ (2005) और रिचार्ड डॉकिन्स की द गॉड डेल्यूज़न (2006) पिछले दिनों बहु चर्चित रही हैं। इसी परम्परा को आगे बढाती है क्रिस्टोफ़र हिचेन्स की किताब ‘गॉड इज़ नॉट ग्रेट : हाऊ रिलीजन पॉइज़न्स एवरीथिंग’ । 1 मई 2007 को प्रकाशित यह किताब अपने प्रकाशन के एक सप्ताह के भीतर ही अमेज़न डॉट कॉम की बेस्ट सेलर सूची में तीसरी पायदान पर पहुंच गई। 13 अप्रेल 1949 को इंग्लैण्ड में जन्मे और अब अमरीकी नागरिक क्रिस्टोफ़र एरिक हिचेन्स की छवि मूर्ति भंजक, नास्तिक और कर्मकाण्ड विरोधी की रही है। मदर टेरेसा तक को कट्टर, रूढिवादी और फ़्रॉड कहकर वे अपने मिजाज़ का परिचय पहले ही दे चुके हैं। इस किताब में तो उन्होंने किसी भी धर्म गुरू को नहीं बख्शा है, चाहे वह दलाई लामा हो या रेवरेण्ड मार्टिन लूथर किंग जूनियर! यहां तक कि महात्मा गान्धी भी उनके प्रहारों से नहीं बच पाये हैं। बस एक अपवाद हैं सेण्ट फ़्रांसिस।
इस किताब का उप शीर्षक (हाऊ रिलीजन पॉइज़न्स एवरीथिंग) इसकी मूल स्थापना को उजागर करने के लिए काफ़ी है। हिचेन्स मानते हैं और अनेक उदाहरण देकर स्थापित करते हैं कि धर्म सब कुछ को जहरीला बनाता है, और दुनिया धर्म के बगैर ज़्यादा बेहतर हो सकती है। हिचेन्स के अनुसार धर्म हिंसक, अतार्किक, असहिष्णु, नस्लवाद, कबीलावाद और धर्मान्धता से जुडा, अज्ञान में आकण्ठ डूबा, मुक्त चिंतन के प्रति आक्रामक, स्त्री विरोधी और बाल-पीडक है। जैसे इतना ही काफ़ी न हो, वे धर्म को मानवीकृत, हत्यारा, भय से उपजा और भय के ही निर्मम दबाव के कारण टिका हुआ बताते हैं। द गॉड डेल्यूज़न के लेखक डॉकिन्स के स्वर में स्वर मिलाकर वे भी धर्म शिक्षा को बाल अपचार की श्रेणी में शुमार करते हैं। हिचेन्स धार्मिक आस्था को खतरनाक यौनिक दमन का परिणाम भी मानते हैं, कारण भी। इन सब कारणों से वे बहुत ज़ोर देकर कहते हैं कि धर्म को हटाइए और जिज्ञासा वृत्ति, मुक्त मन और विचारों की खोज को सम्मान दीजिए।
हिचेन्स यह भी स्थापित करते हैं कि धर्म की जडें केवल और केवल इच्छा पूर्ति में है। इसी आधार पर वे धर्म को मानव-निर्मित बताते हुए कहते हैं कि एक नैतिक जीवन धर्म के बगैर भी/ही जिया जा सकता है। हिचेन्स बर्ट्रेण्ड रसेल की किताब व्हाई आई एम नॉट ए क्रिश्चियन की चिन्तन परम्परा को आगे बढाते हुए विज्ञान एवम तर्क पर आधारित धर्म निरपेक्ष जीवन की वक़ालत करते हैं। हिचेन्स जब तर्क की बात करते हैं और समकालीन यौनिकता तथा यौनिक दमन को प्राचीन धार्मिक विश्वासों से जोडकर विश्लेषित करते हैं तो प्रभावित करते हैं। जब वे विभिन्न युद्धों और तानाशाही निज़ामों में धर्म की संलग्नता के ब्यौरे देते हैं तो उनकी बात में दम लगता है। लेकिन जब वे धर्म की एक अति सरलीकृत छवि बनाते हैं और फ़िर उस पर पिल पडते हैं तो बावज़ूद उनकी तेज़ाबी भाषा और दिलचस्प अन्दाज़े बयां के, हमारी असहमतियां उभरने लगती हैं। तब लगता है कि एक समीक्षक ने यह कहकर कोई ज़्यादती नहीं की है कि हिचेन्स अपने विषय से पूरी तरह अनभिज्ञ हैं।
गडबड यह हुई है कि हिचेन्स ने धर्म को पूरी तरह सरलीकृत कर डाला है। उनके लिए धर्म और कर्मकाण्ड जैसे एक ही हैं। अगर धर्म वाकई वह है जो हिचेन्स बता रहे हैं तो तो निश्चय ही उसका न होना बेहतर है। दुनिया ऐसे लोगों से भरी पडी है जो यह मानते हैं कि धर्म का अर्थ ऐसे ईश्वर में अन्ध श्रद्धा है जो प्रार्थना करने पर वरदान या शाप दे देता है। ऐसे बेपढे, रूढिवादी लोग ही विज्ञान और तर्क को शैतान के पंजे मानते हैं। सवाल यह है कि क्या धर्म को इस तरह परिभाषित करना उचित और तर्क संगत है? क्या कर्म काण्ड और शाप-वरदान से आगे धर्म है ही नहीं? हिचेन्स शायद यही कहना चाहते है। और यहीं हमें उनसे असहमत होना पडता है।
मुझे इस किताब की सबसे बडी ताकत भी इसी बात में लगती है कि यह अपने पाठक में गहरी असहमति जगाती है। न केवल असहमति, गहरी प्रश्नाकुलता भी। इससे बडी सार्थकता किसी किताब की और हो भी क्या सकती है! किसी किताब या किसी विचारक से यह उम्मीद करना कि उसके पास आपके सारे सवालों के जवाब होंगे निराश होने की दिशा में अग्रसर होना है। दुनिया के किसी भी विचारक और किसी भी किताब ने यह नहीं किया है। लेकिन हर उम्दा किताब, हर सुलझा विचारक आपके ठहरे हुए सोच में हलचल पैदा करने का महत्वपूर्ण काम करता है। इस किताब ने भी यही किया है.
God is Not Great: how religion poisons everything
A few weeks before the events of September 11, 2001, Christopher Hitchens sat on a panel with Dennis Prager, a US religious broadcaster, who challenged him to a "straight yes/no question". Prager asked Hitchens to imagine himself standing in the street of a strange city at dusk as a large group of men approached him. Would he feel safer, or less safe, Prager wanted to know, if he knew the men had emerged from a prayer meeting?
After noting that it wasn't possible to answer "yes" or "no" to such a question, Hitchens writes: "I was able to answer it as if it was not hypothetical. Just to stay within the letter 'B', I have had that experience in Belfast, Beirut, Bombay, Belgrade, Bethlehem and Baghdad. In each case I can say absolutely, and can give my reasons, why I would feel immediately threatened if I thought that the group of men approaching me in the dusk had come from religious observance."
In Belfast, Hitchens saw locals terrorised for "no other reason than membership of another confession". In Belgrade, he'd seen Croatian Roman Catholics slug it out with Christian Orthodox Serbs. In Beirut, a suicide bomber's severed head stared at him in the street outside the French embassy. And so on.
Hitchens relates this in his second chapter, Religion Kills, an overture preceding a thundering 300-page cannonade; a thrillingly fearless, impressively wide-ranging, thoroughly bilious and angry book against the idea of God, the practice of religion and the vast majority of the planet "stupid" enough to believe. It's a call, too, in an age of flourishing fundamentalisms, for a new Enlightenment, a call partially lost in the demolition.
It's a book to boot an agnostic off the fence, to invigorate atheists and anti-theists; believers will find it challenging, perhaps diabolical, most certainly offensive. But then Hitchens not only has previous form - in 2002 he accepted the invitation of the Vatican to act as Devil's Advocate arguing the case against the beatification of Mother Teresa (her support of the prohibition on condoms Hitchens thought unconscionable in an environment rife with AIDS) - he is also a laureate of contempt. He means to start a fight.
Hitchens found atheism young. God is Not Great starts with a nine-year-old Hitchens fuming at his scripture teacher Mrs Jean Watts for telling him that God "has made all the trees and grass to be green, which is exactly the colour that is most restful to our eyes. Imagine if instead, the vegetation was all purple, or orange, how awful that would be."
Allen & Unwin
बापू के भी ताऊ निकले तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
सरल सूत्र उलझाऊ निकले तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
सचमुच जीवनदानी निकले तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
ग्यानी निकले, ध्यानी निकले तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
जल-थल-गगन-बिहारी निकले तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
लीला के गिरधारी निकले तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
सर्वोदय के नटवरलाल
फैला दुनिया भर में जाल
अभी जियेंगे ये सौ साल
ढाई घर घोड़े की चाल
मत पूछो तुम इनका हाल
सर्वोदय के नटवरलाल
लम्बी उमर मिली है, ख़ुश हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
दिल की कली खिली है, ख़ुश हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
बूढ़े हैं फिर भी जवान हैं ख़ुश हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
परम चतुर हैं, अति सुजान हैं ख़ुश हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
सौवीं बरसी मना रहे हैं ख़ुश हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
बापू को ही बना रहे हैं ख़ुश हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
बच्चे होंगे मालामाल
ख़ूब गलेगी उनकी दाल
औरों की टपकेगी राल
इनकी मगर तनेगी पाल
मत पूछो तुम इनका हाल
सर्वोदय के नटवरलाल
सेठों का हित साध रहे हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
युग पर प्रवचन लाद रहे हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
सत्य अहिंसा फाँक रहे हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
पूँछों से छबि आँक रहे हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
दल से ऊपर, दल के नीचे तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
मुस्काते हैं आँखें मीचे तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
छील रहे गीता की खाल
उपनिषदें हैं इनकी ढाल
उधर सजे मोती के थाल
इधर जमे सतजुगी दलाल
मत पूछो तुम इनका हाल
सर्वोदय के नटवरलाल
मूंड रहे दुनिया-जहान को तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
चिढ़ा रहे हैं आसमान को तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
करें रात-दिन टूर हवाई तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
बदल-बदल कर चखें मलाई तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
गाँधी-छाप झूल डाले हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
असली हैं, सर्कस वाले हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
दिल चटकीला, उजले बाल
नाप चुके हैं गगन विशाल
फूल गए हैं कैसे गाल
मत पूछो तुम इनका हाल
सर्वोदय के नटवरलाल
हमें अँगूठा दिखा रहे हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
कैसी हिकमत सिखा रहे हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
प्रेम-पगे हैं, शहद-सने हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
गुरुओं के भी गुरु बने हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
सौवीं बरसी मना रहे हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
बापू को ही बना रहे हैं तीनों बन्दर बापू के !
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Bhagat Singh 1931
Why I am an Atheist
Written: October 5–6, 1930
Source/Translated: Converted from the original Gurmukhi (Punjabi) to Urdu/Persian script by Maqsood Saqib;
translated from Urdu to English by Hasan for marxists.org, 2006;
HTML/Proofread: Andy Blunden and Mike Bessler;
CopyLeft: Creative Common (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2006.
It is a matter of debate whether my lack of belief in the existence of an Omnipresent, Omniscient God is due to my arrogant pride and vanity. It never occurred to me that sometime in the future I would be involved in polemics of this kind. As a result of some discussions with my friends, (if my claim to friendship is not uncalled for) I have realised that after having known me for a little time only, some of them have reached a kind of hasty conclusion about me that my atheism is my foolishness and that it is the outcome of my vanity. Even then it is a serious problem. I do not boast of being above these human follies. I am, after all, a human being and nothing more. And no one can claim to be more than that. I have a weakness in my personality, for pride is one of the human traits that I do possess. I am known as a dictator among my friends. Sometimes I am called a boaster. Some have always been complaining that I am bossy and I force others to accept my opinion. Yes, it is true to some extent. I do not deny this charge. We can use the word ‘vainglory’ for it. As far as the contemptible, obsolete, rotten values of our society are concerned, I am an extreme sceptic. But this question does not concern my person alone. It is being proud of my ideas, my thoughts. It cannot be called empty pride. Pride, or you may use the word, vanity, both mean an exaggerated assessment of one’s personality. Is my atheism because of unnecessary pride, or have I ceased believing in God after thinking long and deep on the matter? I wish to put my ideas before you. First of all, let us differentiate between pride and vanity as these are two different things.
I have never been able to understand how unfounded, baseless pride or empty vanity can hinder a person from believing in God. I may refuse to acknowledge the greatness of a really great person only when I have got fame without doing any serious efforts or when I lack the superior mental powers necessary to become great. It is easy to understand but how is it possible that a believer can turn into a non-believer because of his vanity? Only two things are possible: either a man deems himself to be in possession of Godly qualities, or he goes a step further and declares himself to be a god. In both these states of mind he cannot be an atheist in the true sense of the word. In the first case, it is not an outright rejection of God’s existence; in the other, he is affirming the existence of some kind of supernatural power responsible for the working of universe. It does not harm our argument whether he claims to be a god or considers God to be a reality in existence above his own being. The real point, however, is that in both cases he is a theist, a believer. He is not an atheist. I want to bring home this point to you. I am not one of these two creeds. I totally reject the existence of an Omnipresent, all powerful, all knowing God. Why so? I will discuss it later in the essay. Here I wish to emphasise that I am not an atheist for the reason that I am arrogant or proud or vain; nor am I a demi-god, nor a prophet; no, nor am I God myself. At least one thing is true that I have not evolved this thought because of vanity or pride. In order to answer this question I relate the truth. My friends say that after Delhi bombing and Lahore Conspiracy Case, I rocketed to fame and that this fact has turned my head. Let us discuss why this allegation is incorrect. I did not give up my belief in God after these incidents. I was an atheist even when I was an unknown figure. At least a college student cannot cherish any sort of exaggerated notion of himself that may lead him to atheism. It is true that I was a favourite with some college teachers, but others did not like me. I was never a hardworking or studious boy. I never got an opportunity to be proud. I was very careful in my behaviour and somewhat pessimistic about my future career. I was not completely atheistic in my beliefs. I was brought up under the care and protection of my father. He was a staunch Arya Samaji. An Arya Samaji can be anything but never an atheist. After my elementary education, I was sent to D. A. V College, Lahore. I lived in the boarding house for one year. Besides prayers early in the morning and at dusk time, I sat for hours and chanted religious Mantras. At that time, I was a staunch believer. Then I lived with my father. He was a tolerant man in his religious views. It is due to his teachings that I devoted my life for the cause of liberating my country. But he was not an atheist. His God was an all-pervading Entity. He advised me to offer my prayers every day. In this way I was brought up. In the Non-cooperation days, I got admission to the National College. During my stay in this college, I began thinking over all the religious polemics such that I grew sceptical about the existence of God. In spite of this fact I can say that my belief in God was firm and strong. I grew a beard and ‘Kais’ (long head of hair as a Sikh religious custom). In spite of this I could not convince myself of the efficacy of Sikh religion or any religion at all, for that matter. But I had an unswerving, unwavering belief in God.
Then I joined the Revolutionary Party. The first leader I met had not the courage to openly declare himself an atheist. He was unable to reach any conclusion on this point. Whenever I asked him about the existence of God, he gave me this reply: “You may believe in him when you feel like it.” The second leader with whom I came in contact was a firm believer. I should mention his name. It was our respected Comrade Sachindara Nath Sanyal. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with Karachi conspiracy case. Right from the first page of his only book, ‘Bandi Jivan’ (Incarnated Life) he sings praises to the Glory of God. See the last page of the second part of this book and you find praises showered upon God in the way of a mystic. It is a clear reflection of his thoughts.
According to the prosecution, the ‘Revolutionary Leaflet’ which was distributed throughout India was the outcome of Sachindara Nath Sanyal’s intellectual labour. So often it happens that in revolutionary activities a leader expresses his own ideas which may be very dear to him, but in spite of having differences, the other workers have to acquiesce in them.
In that leaflet, one full paragraph was devoted to the praises of God and His doings which we, human beings, cannot understand. This is sheer mysticism. What I want to point out is that the idea of denying the existence of God did not even occur to the Revolutionary Party. The famous Kakory martyrs, all four of them, passed their last day in prayers. Ram Parshad Bismal was a staunch Arya Samaji. In spite of his vast studies in Socialism and Communism, Rajan Lahiri could not suppress his desire to recite hymns from Upanishads and Gita. There was but only one person among them who did not indulge in such activities. He used to say, “Religion is the outcome of human weakness or the limitation of human knowledge.” He is also in prison for life. But he also never dared to deny the existence of God.
Till that time I was only a romantic revolutionary, just a follower of our leaders. Then came the time to shoulder the whole responsibility. For some time, a strong opposition put the very existence of the party into danger. Many leaders as well as many enthusiastic comrades began to uphold the party to ridicule. They jeered at us. I had an apprehension that some day I will also consider it a futile and hopeless task. It was a turning point in my revolutionary career. An incessant desire to study filled my heart. ‘Study more and more’, said I to myself so that I might be able to face the arguments of my opponents. ‘Study’ to support your point of view with convincing arguments. And I began to study in a serious manner. My previous beliefs and convictions underwent a radical change. The romance of militancy dominated our predecessors; now serious ideas ousted this way of thinking. No more mysticism! No more blind faith! Now realism was our mode of thinking. At times of terrible necessity, we can resort to extreme methods, but violence produces opposite results in mass movements. I have talked much about our methods. The most important thing was a clear conception of our ideology for which we were waging a long struggle. As there was no election activity going on, I got ample opportunity to study various ideas propounded by various writers. I studied Bakunin, the anarchist leader. I read a few books of Marx, the father of Communism. I also read Lenin and Trotsky and many other writers who successfully carried out revolutions in their countries. All of them were atheists. The ideas contained in Bakunin’s ‘God and State’ seem inconclusive, but it is an interesting book. After that I came across a book ‘Common Sense’ by Nirlamba Swami. His point of view was a sort of mystical atheism. I developed more interest in this subject. By the end of 1926, I was convinced that the belief in an Almighty, Supreme Being who created, guided and controlled the universe had no sound foundations. I began discussions on this subject with my friends. I had openly declared myself an atheist. What it meant will be discussed in the following lines.
In May 1927, I was arrested in Lahore. This arrest came as a big surprise for me. I had not the least idea that I was wanted by the police. I was passing through a garden and all of a sudden the police surrounded me. To my own surprise, I was very calm at that time. I was in full control of myself. I was taken into police custody. The next day I was taken to the Railway Police lockup where I spent a whole month. After many days’ conversation with police personnel, I guessed that they had some information about my connection with the Kakori Party. I felt they had some intelligence of my other activities in the revolutionary movement. They told me that I was in Lucknow during the Kakori Party Trial so that I might devise a scheme to rescue the culprits. They also said that after the plan had been approved, we procured some bombs and by way of test, one of those bombs was thrown into a crowd on the occasion of Dussehra in 1926. They offered to release me on condition that I gave a statement on the activities of the Revolutionary Party. In this way I would be set free and even rewarded and I would not be produced as an approver in the court. I could not help laughing at their proposals. It was all humbug. People who have ideas like ours do not throw bombs at their own innocent people. One day, Mr. Newman, the then senior Superintendent of CID, came to me. After a long talk which was full of sympathetic words, he imparted to me what he considered to be sad news, that if I did not give any statement as demanded by them, they would be forced to send me up for trial for conspiracy to wage war in connection with Kakori Case and also for brutal killings in Dussehra gathering. After that he said that he had sufficient evidence to get me convicted and hanged.
I was completely innocent, but I believed that the police had sufficient power to do it if they desired it to be so. The same day some police officers persuaded me to offer my prayers to God two times regularly. I was an atheist. I thought that I would settle it to myself whether I could brag only in days of peace and happiness that I was an atheist, or in those hard times I could be steadfast in my convictions. After a long debate with myself, I reached the conclusion that I could not even pretend to be a believer nor could I offer my prayers to God. No, I never did it. It was time of trial and I would come out of it successful. These were my thoughts. Never for a moment did I desire to save my life. So I was a true atheist then and I am an atheist now. It was not an easy task to face that ordeal. Beliefs make it easier to go through hardships, even make them pleasant. Man can find a strong support in God and an encouraging consolation in His Name. If you have no belief in Him, then there is no alternative but to depend upon yourself. It is not child’s play to stand firm on your feet amid storms and strong winds. In difficult times, vanity, if it remains, evaporates and man cannot find the courage to defy beliefs held in common esteem by the people. If he really revolts against such beliefs, we must conclude that it is not sheer vanity; he has some kind of extraordinary strength. This is exactly the situation now. First of all we all know what the judgement will be. It is to be pronounced in a week or so. I am going to sacrifice my life for a cause. What more consolation can there be! A God-believing Hindu may expect to be reborn a king; a Muslim or a Christian might dream of the luxuries he hopes to enjoy in paradise as a reward for his sufferings and sacrifices. What hope should I entertain? I know that will be the end when the rope is tightened round my neck and the rafters move from under my feet. To use more precise religious terminology, that will be the moment of utter annihilation. My soul will come to nothing. If I take the courage to take the matter in the light of ‘Reward’, I see that a short life of struggle with no such magnificent end shall itself be my ‘Reward.’ That is all. Without any selfish motive of getting any reward here or in the hereafter, quite disinterestedly have I devoted my life to the cause of freedom. I could not act otherwise. The day shall usher in a new era of liberty when a large number of men and women, taking courage from the idea of serving humanity and liberating them from sufferings and distress, decide that there is no alternative before them except devoting their lives for this cause. They will wage a war against their oppressors, tyrants or exploiters, not to become kings, or to gain any reward here or in the next birth or after death in paradise; but to cast off the yoke of slavery, to establish liberty and peace they will tread this perilous, but glorious path. Can the pride they take in their noble cause be called vanity? Who is there rash enough to call it so? To him I say either he is foolish or wicked. Leave such a fellow alone for he cannot realise the depth, the emotions, the sentiment and the noble feelings that surge in that heart. His heart is dead, a mere lump of flesh, devoid of feelings. His convictions are infirm, his emotions feeble. His selfish interests have made him incapable of seeing the truth. The epithet ‘vanity’ is always hurled at the strength we get from our convictions.
You go against popular feelings; you criticise a hero, a great man who is generally believed to be above criticism. What happens? No one will answer your arguments in a rational way; rather you will be considered vainglorious. Its reason is mental insipidity. Merciless criticism and independent thinking are the two necessary traits of revolutionary thinking. As Mahatmaji is great, he is above criticism; as he has risen above, all that he says in the field of politics, religion, Ethics is right. You agree or not, it is binding upon you to take it as truth. This is not constructive thinking. We do not take a leap forward; we go many steps back.
Our forefathers evolved faith in some kind of Supreme Being, therefore, one who ventures to challenge the validity of that faith or denies the existence of God, shall be called a Kafir (infidel), or a renegade. Even if his arguments are so strong that it is impossible to refute them, if his spirit is so strong that he cannot be bowed down by the threats of misfortune that may befall him through the wrath of the Almighty, he shall be decried as vainglorious. Then why should we waste our time in such discussions? This question has come before the people for the first time, hence the necessity and usefulness of such long discussions.
As far as the first question is concerned, I think I have made it clear that I did not turn atheist because of vanity. Only my readers, not I, can decide whether my arguments carry weight. If I were a believer, I know in the present circumstances my life would have been easier; the burden lighter. My disbelief in God has turned all the circumstances too harsh and this situation can deteriorate further. Being a little mystical can give the circumstances a poetic turn. But I need no opiate to meet my end. I am a realistic man. I want to overpower this tendency in me with the help of Reason. I am not always successful in such attempts. But it is man’s duty to try and make efforts. Success depends on chance and circumstances.
Now we come to the second question: if it is not vanity, there ought to be some sound reason for rejection of age-old belief in God. Yes, I come to this question. I think that any man who has some reasoning power always tries to understand the life and people around him with the help of this faculty. Where concrete proofs are lacking, [mystical] philosophy creeps in. As I have indicated, one of my revolutionary friends used to say that “philosophy is the outcome of human weakness.” Our ancestors had the leisure to solve the mysteries of the world, its past, its present and its future, its whys and its wherefores, but having been terribly short of direct proofs, every one of them tried to solve the problem in his own way. Hence we find wide differences in the fundamentals of various religious creeds. Sometimes they take very antagonistic and conflicting forms. We find differences in Oriental and Occidental philosophies. There are differences even amongst various schools of thoughts in each hemisphere. In Asian religions, the Muslim religion is completely incompatible with the Hindu faith. In India itself, Buddhism and Jainism are sometimes quite separate from Brahmanism. Then in Brahmanism itself, we find two conflicting sects: Aarya Samaj and Snatan Dheram. Charwak is yet another independent thinker of the past ages. He challenged the Authority of God. All these faiths differ on many fundamental questions, but each of them claims to be the only true religion. This is the root of the evil. Instead of developing the ideas and experiments of ancient thinkers, thus providing ourselves with the ideological weapon for the future struggle, – lethargic, idle, fanatical as we are – we cling to orthodox religion and in this way reduce human awakening to a stagnant pool.
It is necessary for every person who stands for progress to criticise every tenet of old beliefs. Item by item he has to challenge the efficacy of old faith. He has to analyse and understand all the details. If after rigorous reasoning, one is led to believe in any theory of philosophy, his faith is appreciated. His reasoning may be mistaken and even fallacious. But there is chance that he will be corrected because Reason is the guiding principle of his life. But belief, I should say blind belief is disastrous. It deprives a man of his understanding power and makes him reactionary.
Any person who claims to be a realist has to challenge the truth of old beliefs. If faith cannot withstand the onslaught of reason, it collapses. After that his task should be to do the groundwork for new philosophy. This is the negative side. After that comes in the positive work in which some material of the olden times can be used to construct the pillars of new philosophy. As far as I am concerned, I admit that I lack sufficient study in this field. I had a great desire to study the Oriental Philosophy, but I could get ample opportunity or sufficient time to do so. But so far as I reject the old time beliefs, it is not a matter of countering belief with belief, rather I can challenge the efficacy of old beliefs with sound arguments. We believe in nature and that human progress depends on the domination of man over nature. There is no conscious power behind it. This is our philosophy.
Being atheist, I ask a few questions from theists:
1. If, as you believe there is an Almighty, Omnipresent, Omniscient God, who created the earth or universe, please let me know, first of all, as to why he created this world. This world which is full of woe and grief, and countless miseries, where not even one person lives in peace.
2. Pray, don’t say it is His law. If He is bound by any law, He is not Omnipotent. Don’t say it is His pleasure. Nero burnt one Rome. He killed a very limited number of people. He caused only a few tragedies, all for his morbid enjoyment. But what is his place in history? By what names do we remember him? All the disparaging epithets are hurled at him. Pages are blackened with invective diatribes condemning Nero: the tyrant, the heartless, the wicked.
One Genghis Khan killed a few thousand people to seek pleasure in it and we hate the very name. Now, how will you justify your all powerful, eternal Nero, who every day, every moment continues his pastime of killing people? How can you support his doings which surpass those of Genghis Khan in cruelty and in misery inflicted upon people? I ask why the Almighty created this world which is nothing but a living hell, a place of constant and bitter unrest. Why did he create man when he had the power not to do so? Have you any answer to these questions? You will say that it is to reward the sufferer and punish the evildoer in the hereafter. Well, well, how far will you justify a man who first of all inflicts injuries on your body and then applies soft and soothing ointment on them? How far the supporters and organizers of Gladiator bouts were justified in throwing men before half starved lions, later to be cared for and looked after well if they escaped this horrible death. That is why I ask: Was the creation of man intended to derive this kind of pleasure?
Open your eyes and see millions of people dying of hunger in slums and huts dirtier than the grim dungeons of prisons; just see the labourers patiently or say apathetically while the rich vampires suck their blood; bring to mind the wastage of human energy that will make a man with a little common sense shiver in horror. Just observe rich nations throwing their surplus produce into the sea instead of distributing it among the needy and deprived. There are palaces of kings built upon the foundations laid with human bones. Let them see all this and say “All is well in God’s Kingdom.” Why so? This is my question. You are silent. All right. I proceed to my next point.
You, the Hindus, would say: Whosoever undergoes sufferings in this life, must have been a sinner in his previous birth. It is tantamount to saying that those who are oppressors now were Godly people then, in their previous births. For this reason alone they hold power in their hands. Let me say it plainly that your ancestors were shrewd people. They were always in search of petty hoaxes to play upon people and snatch from them the power of Reason. Let us analyse how much this argument carries weight!
Those who are well versed in the philosophy of Jurisprudence relate three of four justifications for the punishment that is to be inflicted upon a wrong-doer. These are: revenge, reform, and deterrence. The Retribution Theory is now condemned by all the thinkers. Deterrent theory is on the anvil for its flaws. Reformative theory is now widely accepted and considered to be necessary for human progress. It aims at reforming the culprit and converting him into a peace-loving citizen. But what in essence is God’s Punishment even if it is inflicted on a person who has really done some harm? For the sake of argument we agree for a moment that a person committed some crime in his previous birth and God punished him by changing his shape into a cow, cat, tree, or any other animal. You may enumerate the number of these variations in Godly Punishment to be at least eighty-four lack. Tell me, has this tomfoolery, perpetrated in the name of punishment, any reformative effect on human man? How many of them have you met who were donkeys in their previous births for having committed any sin? Absolutely no one of this sort! The so called theory of ‘Puranas’ (transmigration) is nothing but a fairy-tale. I do not have any intention to bring this unutterable trash under discussion. Do you really know the most cursed sin in this world is to be poor? Yes, poverty is a sin; it is a punishment! Cursed be the theoretician, jurist or legislator who proposes such measures as push man into the quagmire of more heinous sins. Did it not occur to your All Knowing God or he could learn the truth only after millions had undergone untold sufferings and hardships? What, according to your theory, is the fate of a person who, by no sin of his own, has been born into a family of low caste people? He is poor so he cannot go to a school. It is his fate to be shunned and hated by those who are born into a high caste. His ignorance, his poverty, and the contempt he receives from others will harden his heart towards society. Supposing that he commits a sin, who shall bear the consequences? God, or he, or the learned people of that society? What is your view about those punishments inflicted on the people who were deliberately kept ignorant by selfish and proud Brahmans? If by chance these poor creatures heard a few words of your sacred books, Vedas, these Brahmans poured melted lead into their ears. If they committed any sin, who was to be held responsible? Who was to bear the brunt? My dear friends, these theories have been coined by the privileged classes. They try to justify the power they have usurped and the riches they have robbed with the help of such theories. Perhaps it was the writer Upton Sinclair who wrote(Bhagat Singh is referring to Sinclair’s pamphlet ‘Profits of Religion’ – MIA transcriber) somewhere “only make a man firm believer in the immortality of soul, then rob him of all that he possesses. He will willingly help you in the process.” The dirty alliance between religious preachers and possessors of power brought the boon of prisons, gallows, knouts and above all such theories for the mankind.
I ask why your Omnipotent God does not hold a man back when he is about to commit a sin or offence. It is child’s play for God. Why did He not kill war lords? Why did He not obliterate the fury of war from their minds? In this way He could have saved humanity of many a great calamity and horror. Why does He not infuse humanistic sentiments into the minds of the Britishers so that they may willingly leave India? I ask why He does not fill the hearts of all capitalist classes with altruistic humanism that prompts them to give up personal possession of the means of production and this will free the whole labouring humanity from the shackles of money. You want to argue the practicability of Socialist theory, I leave it to your Almighty God to enforce it. Common people understand the merits of Socialist theory as far as general welfare is concerned but they oppose it under the pretext that it cannot be implemented. Let the Almighty step in and arrange things in a proper way. No more logic chopping! I tell you that the British rule is not there because God willed it but for the reason that we lack the will and courage to oppose it. Not that they are keeping us under subjugation with the consent of God, but it is with the force of guns and rifles, bombs and bullets, police and militia, and above all because of our apathy that they are successfully committing the most deplorable sin, that is, the exploitation of one nation by another. Where is God? What is He doing? Is He getting a diseased pleasure out of it? A Nero! A Genghis Khan! Down with Him!
Now another piece of manufactured logic! You ask me how I will explain the origin of this world and origin of man. Charles Darwin has tried to throw some light on this subject. Study his book. Also, have a look at Sohan Swami’s “Commonsense.” You will get a satisfactory answer. This topic is concerned with Biology and Natural History. This is a phenomenon of nature. The accidental mixture of different substances in the form of Nebulae gave birth to this earth. When? Study history to know this. The same process caused the evolution of animals and in the long run that of man. Read Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species.’ All the later progress is due to man’s constant conflict with nature and his efforts to utilise nature for his own benefit. This is the briefest sketch of this phenomenon.
Your next question will be why a child is born blind or lame even if he was not a sinner in his previous birth. This problem has been explained in a satisfactory manner by biologists as a mere biological phenomenon. According to them the whole burden rests upon the shoulders of parents whose conscious or unconscious deeds caused mutilation of the child prior to his birth.
You may thrust yet another question at me, though it is merely childish. The question is: If God does not really exist, why do people come to believe in Him? Brief and concise my answer will be. As they come to believe in ghosts, and evil spirits, so they also evolve a kind of belief in God: the only difference being that God is almost a universal phenomenon and well developed theological philosophy. However, I do disagree with radical philosophy. It attributes His origin to the ingenuity of exploiters who wanted to keep the people under their subjugation by preaching the existence of a Supreme Being; thus claimed an authority and sanction from Him for their privileged position. I do not differ on the essential point that all religions, faiths, theological philosophies, and religious creeds and all other such institutions in the long run become supporters of the tyrannical and exploiting institutions, men and classes. Rebellion against any king has always been a sin in every religion.
As regard the origin of God, my thought is that man created God in his imagination when he realized his weaknesses, limitations and shortcomings. In this way he got the courage to face all the trying circumstances and to meet all dangers that might occur in his life and also to restrain his outbursts in prosperity and affluence. God, with his whimsical laws and parental generosity was painted with variegated colours of imagination. He was used as a deterrent factor when his fury and his laws were repeatedly propagated so that man might not become a danger to society. He was the cry of the distressed soul for he was believed to stand as father and mother, sister and brother, brother and friend when in time of distress a man was left alone and helpless. He was Almighty and could do anything. The idea of God is helpful to a man in distress.
Society must fight against this belief in God as it fought against idol worship and other narrow conceptions of religion. In this way man will try to stand on his feet. Being realistic, he will have to throw his faith aside and face all adversaries with courage and valour. That is exactly my state of mind. My friends, it is not my vanity; it is my mode of thinking that has made me an atheist. I don’t think that by strengthening my belief in God and by offering prayers to Him every day, (this I consider to be the most degraded act on the part of man) I can bring improvement in my situation, nor can I further deteriorate it. I have read of many atheists facing all troubles boldly, so I am trying to stand like a man with the head high and erect to the last; even on the gallows.
Let us see how steadfast I am. One of my friends asked me to pray. When informed of my atheism, he said, “When your last days come, you will begin to believe.” I said, “No, dear sir, Never shall it happen. I consider it to be an act of degradation and demoralisation. For such petty selfish motives, I shall never pray.” Reader and friends, is it vanity? If it is, I stand for it.
Some impotent links of discussions..