Indian Humanist Union

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The Indian Humanist Union (IHU) is an Indian Humanist organisation established in 1960 by Narsingh Narain. The forerunner organisation, founded by Narain in 1954, was the "Society for Promotion of Freedom of Thought".

IHU is affiliated with the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). The official symbol of the IHU is a version of the Happy Human.

The funding arm of the organisation, the Humanist Endowment Fund Society (HEFS) was established in 1970. Donations are eligible for deduction from taxable income.

IHU publishes a quarterly journal, the Humanist Outlook which began publication in 1966.

Narsingh Narain (Founder IHU)[edit]

Narsingh Narain (1897-1972) was born on October 4, 1897 in Uttar Pradesh, India. In 1960, he founded the Indian Humanist Union, an organisation for promoting humanism, which is affiliated with the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). Narsingh Narain is one of the main humanist thinkers of twentieth century India. Some of his important essays have been collected in a book titled A Commonsense Humanism and Other Essays.


Narsingh Narain joined U. P. Civil Service in 1923. He remained in service till 1954. In 1954, he took premature retirement from government service so that he could work for promoting freethought. Narain had rebelled against traditional religious beliefs in his younger days. He favoured a scientific and tolerant attitude to life and religion.In 1954 itself Narsingh Narain founded the Society for the Promotion of Freedom of Thought, which was the forerunner of the Indian Humanist Union. In 1966, Narsingh Narain started a quarterly journal, Humanist Outlook, which he edited till the end. He used the journal for promoting ethical values, social reform, communal harmony and rational outlook on life. In 1970, he founded Humanist Endowment Fund Society (HEFS). Its aim is to provide financial support for humanist activities.

Narsingh Narain used to write widely in Indian and foreign journals. He wrote more than a hundred essays on humanist subjects. He attended the world congresses of the International Humanist and Ethical Union in London (1957), Oslo (1962) and Boston (1970). He made valuable contributions to the deliberations in these congresses. On his death he bequeathed all his life’s savings to the Humanist Endowment Fund Society.


  • Narsingh Narain (ed. A. Solomon), A Commonsense Humanism and Other Essays (Mumbai: Indian Humanist Union and Indian Secular Society, 1996).
  • Humanist Outlook, vol. 1, No. 9, August 1968.

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