Can a rationalist associate himself or herself with organisations that are known to hold irrational views and that are part of a family of organisations accused of murdering rationalists? Yes, is the answer, if you checkout some of the interviews of “rationalist” Sanal Edamaruku, currently in Finland, after being hounded by the Church.
Yesterday, he proudly posted in his facebook page an interview with “a top Hindu publication”. The publication happened to be The Organiser, the mouthpiece of the RSS. Overseas readers of his posts would clearly be misled by him calling it “a top Hindu publication”. Mind you, he did not call it a “top Hindutva publication”. So, many of us asked him in the comments whether he, as a rationalist, didn’t have any problems in giving interviews to a Sangh Parivar publication and be a part of their propaganda. Some of the comments ofcourse “disappeared”.
He defended the interview by praising Organiser for printing even the line in which he said he was “extremely unhappy and pained about the assassination of three famous rationalists in India — Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and Kalburgi.” Quite a concession from their side, for using you for their propaganda.
Anyway, one of my friends did some digging online and found that he has in the past given interviews to several Sangh mouthpieces, including the BJP Kerala’s newspaper ‘Janmabhumi’ and RSS-run Malayalam channel ‘Janam TV’. In one of those interviews, he even says that he is amazed by the “tolerance” of Hindu(tva) organisations as none of the have attacked him yet. It’s quite amazing that this argument is put forward by someone who obviously hasn’t forgotten about Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and Kalburgi or M.F.Hussain.
It’s quite natural that Sanal wants to protect himself and get back at the Church for persecuting him, but to consistently have a truck with another organisation, which does not treat rationalists in its own religion kindly, exposes the hypocrisy of his rationalism. A rationalist, as per the dictionary is “a person who bases their opinions and actions on reason and knowledge rather than on religious belief or emotional response.”
To give an interview to a Sangh publication at a time when the forces of irrationality are taking over the country, when people are murdered in the name of beef and for their opinions, takes an immense level of selective blindness too. But then, seeing the pattern, it seems there’s more to the relationship than just interviews. It’s not that Sanal is not getting any platform in any mainstream media here. I remember English and Malayalam mainstream dailies carrying his interviews. I remember covering his lecture through teleconferencing at a recent Freethinkers’ meet in Thiruvananthapuram. So, it’s not about getting platforms.
The rationalists here should question him for spoiling the reputation of the entire community with such acts, else they will all will have to carry the shame. There’s been a criticism for a pretty longtime that most of the rationalists are masters of binary logic. It’s upto them to erase that bad name.