Friday, January 15, 2010


Blinded By the Light

A group of people get together to observe an eclipse and have some lunch and an angry mob shows up.

The programme began at 11:30 am, just about the time the solar eclipse became visible in Hyderabad [India], with the public being encouraged to view the eclipse through filters and dark glasses. People were then treated to a sumptuous meal comsisting of vegetable fried rice as well as vegetrian and non-vegetarian curries.
The problem?

"We have organised this programme to clear the air and make people aware about blind beliefs that are myths.

For example, it is believed that one should not venture out during the eclipse. Hence we have encouraged people to come out and witness this spectacular event. Also, there is a belief that one should not consume food during the eclipse. To prove that there is no harm in eating or drinking during the eclipse we have arranged lunch and are inviting people," explained Varadaraju Reddy, general secretary of Manava Vikasa Vedika.

A part of the event was to prove that the eclipse holds no ill effect on pregnant woman and they are free to go about their normal routine. A few pregnant women have cut vegetables and also consumed food against the popular belief that refrains pregnant woman from taking up any such activity during the eclipse.

Uh oh. Challenging religious beliefs out in the open?

Trouble erupted soon with a mob objecting to the programme and branding it as anti-Hindu and raising Jai Sri Ram slogans.

"These organisations come into picture only to criticise Hindu customs and beliefs.

Why can't they do the same with other religious beliefs?'' said a furious Srikanth K.

"We suspect that the pregant women and other participants in the programme belong to other religions,'' he added.

The organizers are not exactly repentant:

Taking strong objection to the allegations levelled against the organisation, Reddy said, "We are not against any religion. We support science and want to show that science is universal.

If we study the past we learn that religion has always been a hindrance to science and development. It is sad that instead of supporting the awareness programme, a few people wanted to create a nuisance,'' he remarked.

The organizers obviously have never heard of "framing." After all, belief in the magical effects of eclipses is compatible with science, isn't it?

Religion: bringing out the dumbest in people since the dawn of humanity.
"Why can't they do that to other religious beliefs?" Help me out here, this one sounds familiar somehow ...
... this one sounds familiar somehow ...

Something to do with the Koran, wasn't it? ...
In a general sort of way, yes. The phrase "Fatwa envy" summed up what I was thinking.
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