Irreligion in India
Atheism and agnosticism have a long history in India. Indian religions, like Buddhism, Jainism and some schools of Hinduism, consider atheism to be acceptable. India has produced some notable atheist politicians and social reformers.
According to the 2012 WIN-Gallup Global Index of Religion and Atheism report, 81% of Indians were religious, 13% were not religious, 3% were convinced atheists, and 3% were unsure or did not respond.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Ancient India
- 1.2 Medieval India
- 1.3 Modern India
- 2 Legal status, rights and laws
- 3 Persecution and attacks
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Rationalism and atheism by region
- 6 Notable Indian rationalists, atheists and agnostics
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
Schools of Philosophy
In Hinduism, the religion of majority of Indians, atheism is considered to be a valid path to spirituality, as it can be argued that God can manifest in several forms with "no form" being one of them. But, the path is considered difficult to follow. The belief in a personal creator God is not required in Jainism and Buddhism, both of which also originated in the Indian subcontinent. Atheistic schools are also found in Hinduism.
Hindu philosophy is divided into schools (darśanam). These schools can be categorized as āstika (orthodox), schools which conforms to the Vedas, and nāstika (heterodox), schools reject the Vedas. The six schools, Sāṃkhya, Yoga, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Mimāṃsā, and Vedānta, are considered āstika schools. But, Cārvāka, Jainism and Buddhism are considered nāstika.
|“||There is no heaven, no final liberation, nor any soul in another world, Nor do the actions of the four castes, orders, etc., produce any real effect.||”|
The Cārvāka school originated in India around the 6th century BCE. It is classified as a nāstika school. It is noteworthy as evidence of a materialistic movement in ancient India. Followers of this school only accepted pratyakşa (perception) as a valid pramāna (evidence). They considered other pramāna like sabda (testinomy), upamāna (analogy), and anumāna (inference) as unreliable. Thus, existence of soul (ātman) and God were rejected, because they could not be proved by perception. They also considered everything to be made of four elements: earth, water, air and fire. Cārvāka pursued elimination of physical pain and enjoyment of life. So, they can be considered hedonistic. All of the original Cārvāka texts are considered lost. A much quoted sūtra (Barhaspatya sutras) by Brhaspati, who is considered the founder of the school, is thought to be lost. The Tattvopaplavasimha by Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa (8th century CE) and the Sarvadarśanasaṅ̇graha by Madhavacarya (14th century) are considered important secondary Cārvāka texts.
Sāṃkhya is an āstika school, but has some atheistic elements. Sāṃkhya is a radically dualist philosophy. They believed that the two ontological principles, puruṣa (consciousness) and prakriti (matter), to be the underlying foundation of the universe. The objective of life is considered the achievement of separation of pure consciousness from matter (kaivalya). The reasoning within this system led to Nir-isvara Sāṃkhya (Sāṃkhya without God) philosophy, which deemed the existence of God unnecessary. There is the opposing reasoning which accepts God, it is called Sesvara Sankhya (Sāṃkhya with God). Samkhya Karika (c. 350 BCE) is the earliest known systematic text of this philosophy.
Mīmāṃsā (meaning exegesis) is also an astika school. They believed the Vedas to be author-less and self-authenticating. They didn't accept the Vedas to be composed by any ṛṣi (saint), they considered it to be not authored by anyone (apauruṣeya). They accepted the minor deities of the Vedas but resisted any notion of a Supreme Creator. They only concentrated on upholding the ṛta (order) by following the duties of the Vedas. The foundational text of this school is the Mīmāṃsā Sutra by Jaimini (c. 200 BCE - 200 CE).
Buddhism and Jainism
Buddhism can be argued to be agnostic as there is no mention of God in it and neither Buddha ever met God. But, godhood can be attained by achieving Nirvana. Mahayana Buddhists may worship several of these Boddhisattvas along with the Buddha. Jainism is based on the completely on the concept of karma. Jains believe that every soul in its purest form is equal to god, and they can be elevated to godhood.
Philosophers and ancient texts
Ajita Kesakambali was a materialist philosopher. He is mentioned in the Samaññaphala Sutta. He rejected gods, afterlife and karma. Payasi is a character, referred to as a prince, who appears in the Buddhist text Digha Nikaya in the Payasi Sutta. He didn't believe in rebirth or karma. He debated Kassapa, a disciple of Buddha and lost, and then converted to Buddhism.
Jabali's speech from the Ramayana
In the Hindu epic Ramayana (Ayodhya Khanda), when Bharata goes to the forest to convince Rama to return home, he was accompanied by a sophist called Jabali ("जाबालिः"). Jabali uses nihilistic reasoning to convince Rama. He also said that rituals are a waste of food and scriptures were written by smart men so that people would give alms. But, Rama calls him a deviant from the path of dharma ("धर्मपथात्"), refuses to accept his "nastika" views and blame his own father for taking Jabali into service. He also equates the Buddha to a thief. On hearing Rama's retort, Jabali retracts his statements, saying that he was merely arguing like a nihilist. However, these verses referring to the Buddha are considered a later interpolation, as those verses use a different metre.
The Carvaka incident in the Mahabharata
A character described as a Carvaka briefly appears in the Mahabharata (in the Shanti Parva). As Yudhisthira enters the city of Hastinapur, a brahmin, referred to as Carvaka, accuses him of killing his own kinsmen and says that he would suffer for it. The accuser is revealed to a rakshasa in disguise, who was a friend of Duryodhana. He had existed since the Krita Yuga virtue of a boon from the god Brahma, that he could only be killed when he is showing contempt towards brahmins. He was promptly killed by other brahmins by the chanting of sacred hymns and Yudhisthira was assured that his actions were the within the kshatriya code. This event may be a possible denigration of the Carvaka philosophy.
|“||Some foolish men declare that a creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was created is ill-advised, and should be rejected. If god created the world, where was he before creation? If you say he was transcendent then, and needed no support, where is he now?||”|
This quote was also featured later in Carl Sagan's book, Cosmos. In the 14th century, philosopher Madhavacarya wrote the Sarvadarśanasaṅ̇graha which is a compilation of all Indian philosophies, including Carvaka which is described in the first chapter.
Between 1882 and 1888, the Madras Secular Society published a magazine called The Thinker (Tattuvavivesini in Tamil) from Madras. The magazine carried articles written by anonymous writers and republished articles from the journal of the London Secular Society, which the Madras Secular Society considered itself affiliated to.
Goparaju Ramachandra Rao (1902-1975), better known by his nickname "Gora", was a social reformer, anti-caste activist and atheist. He and his wife, Saraswathi Gora (1912-2007) who was also an atheist and social reformer, founded the Atheist Centre in 1940. The Atheist Centre is an institute working for social change. Gora expounded his philosophy of positive atheism as a way of life. He later wrote more about positive atheism in his 1972 book, "Positive Atheism". Gora also organized the first World Atheist Conference in 1972. Subsequently, the Atheist Centre has organised several World Atheist Conferences in Vijayawada and other locations.
In 2009, historian Meera Nanda published a book entitled the "The God Market". It examines how Hindu religiosity is gaining more popularity in the rising middle class, as India is liberalizing the economy and adopting globalization.
In March 2009, in Kerala, a pastoral letter addressing the laity was issued by the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council urging the members to not vote for political parties who advocate atheism. In July 2010, another similar letter was issued.
On 10 March 2012, Sanal Edamaruku investigated a so-called miracle in Vile Parle, where a Jesus statue had started weeping and concluded that the problem was caused by faulty drainage. Later that day, during a TV discussion with some church members, Edamaruku accused the Catholic Church of miracle-mongering. On 10 April, Angelo Fernandes, President of the Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum, filed a police complaint against Edamaruku under the Indian Penal Code Section 295A. In July while on a tour in Finland, Edamaruku was informed by a friend that his house was visited by the police. Since, the offence is not bailable, Edamaruku stayed in Finland.
Legal status, rights and laws
Atheism and irreligion are not officially recognized in India. Apostasy is allowed under the right to freedom of religion in the Constitution, and the Special Marriage Act, 1954 allows the marriage of people with no religious beliefs, as well as non-religious and non-ritualistic marriages. However, there are no specific laws catering to atheists and they are considered as belonging to the religion of their birth for administrative purposes.
Hate speech laws and irreligion
On 29 October 2013, the Bombay High Court judged in favour of an atheist school teacher from Nashik. Sanjay Salve had been employed by the state-funded Savitribai Phule Secondary School since 1996. In June 2007, during a prayer session, Salve didn't fold his hands during the pledge or prayer. The school management called this indiscipline and refused him a higher pay grade in 2008 when Salve became eligible for it. Salve sought legal recourse citing the Section 28 (a) of the Constitution which states "no person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution". The court ruled in Salve's favour and directed the school to release his dues by 31 January 2013.
On 23 September 2014, the Bombay High Court declared that the government cannot force a person to state a religion on any document or form. The court also stated any citizen has the right to declare that he/she doesn't belong to any religion. The decision came in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Ranjit Mohite, Kishore Nazare and Subhash Ranware, representing an organisation called Full Gospel Church of God, after the Maharashtra state printing press refused to issued them a gazette notification stating that they belonged to no religion. The petitioners stated that the organisation had 4000 members, and that they believe in Jesus Christ but they do not follow Christianity or any religion. Responding to the petition, the Maharashtra and the central governments had stated that "no religion" cannot be treated as a religion on official forms. The court cited the Article 25 of the Constitution, which guarantees right to freedom of conscience, while passing the verdict.
Persecution and attacks
Narendra Nayak has claimed to have been attacked thrice and twice his scooter has been damaged, one of the attack left him with head injuries. This compelled him to take self-defence lessons and carry a nunchaku. Megh Raj Mitter's house was surrounded a mob, after he debunked the Hindu milk miracle, forcing him to call the police.
On 15 March 2007, a bounty of ₹7 lakh was announced on atheist Bangladeshi author, Taslima Nasrin, living in India by a Muslim cleric named Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan for allegedly writing derogatory statements about Mohammad in in her work. In December 2013, a FIR was filed against Nasrin in [Bareilly]] by a cleric named Hasan Raza Khan for hurting religious sentiments. Nasrin had allegedly tweeted on Twitter, that "In India, criminals who issue fatwas against women don't get punished". Raza Khan said that by accusing clerics of being criminals, Nasrin had hurt religious sentiments.
On 2 July 2011, the house of U. Kalanathan, secretary of the Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham, was attacked in Vallikunnu after he suggested on television that the temple treasures of Padmanabhaswamy Temple should be used for public welfare. On 20 August 2013, Narendra Dabholkar, a rationalist and anti-superstition campaigner, was assassinated.
The Indian census does not explicitly count atheists. In the 2011 Census of India, the response form required the respondent to choose from six options under religion. The "Others" option was meant for minor or tribal religions as well as atheists and agnostics.
World Values Survey (2006)
WIN-Gallup Global Index of Religion and Atheism
According to the 2005 Global Index of Religion and Atheism report from WIN-Gallup, 87% of Indians were religious and 4% called themselves atheists. According to the 2012 report by the same organization, 81% of Indians were religious, 13% were not religious, 3% were convinced atheists and 3% were unsure or did not respond.
Worldviews and Opinions of Scientists in India (2007)
In 2007, a survey was conducted by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture of the Trinity College with the help of Center for Inquiry (India) called Worldviews and Opinions of Scientists in India. 1100 scientists surveyed from 130 institutes. Most of them identified themselves as secular (59%) or somewhat secular (16%) but refused to be labelled irreligious. 83% defined secularism, as it appears in the Indian constitutions, as the separation of state and religion. But, 93% also defined it as tolerance of other religious philosophies. 20% equated secularism to atheism. Only 11% called themselves completely not spiritual. However, only 8% reportedly said they would refuse to do stem cell research based on religious or moral convictions. Y. S. Rajan commented on this saying that most Indians don't feel there is a conflict between science and religion. Other the hand, Innaiah Narisetti, chairman of Center for Inquiry (India) and Pushpa Bhargava, the former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, pointed out the lack of scientific temper among Indian scientists.
Religion Among Scientists in International Context (2014)
|Scientists who identified as nonreligious||6%||65%|
|Scientists who attend religious services on a regular basis (once a month or more)||32%||12%|
|Scientists who never attend religious services||19%||68%|
|Scientists who believe that there are basic truths in many religions||73%||49%|
|Scientists who believe in God||27%||11%|
|Scientists who believe in a higher power of some kind||38%||8%|
The ongoing study has surveyed 1,581 scientists from UK and 1,763 from India.
Rationalism and atheism by region
There is a sub-group of atheists in Kerala who are members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). There are others who support atheism because of rationalist ideals: these include supporters of the Indian Rationalist Association. The Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham is an organization that supports atheism and rationalism in the Malayali community throughout Kerala. The Yukthivadi was the first atheist/rationalist magazine published in Malayalam.
Some notable atheists from Kerala include Sahodaran Ayyappan, V. S. Achuthanandan, A.K. Antony, Sreeni Pattathanam, Abu Abraham, A. K. Gopalan, Mookencheril Cherian Joseph, Joseph Edamaruku, Sanal Edamaruku and others. Sanal Edamaruku is the founder-president of Rationalist International and the president of the Indian Rationalist Association.
Notable Indian rationalists, atheists and agnostics
|A. K. Antony||1940-||Former Defence Minister and former Chief Minister of Kerala|||
|John Abraham||1972-||Actor||"I consider myself a spiritual person but I don’t follow any particular religion. From the age of four, my father always told me that 'to be a good man, you don't need to go to a temple, church or a mosque. You just need to do good'. This is very true. So, while I believe in the presence of a supreme being, I am agnostic."|
|Anurag Kashyap||1972-||Director, Producer and Screenwriter||"I am an atheist. Cinema is the only religion I believe in."|
|Amartya Sen||1933-||Economist and Nobel laureate||"If you ask me whether I believe in god, my answer is No. But that does not compromise the profundity of my respect for the self-sacrifice of those who do so for the people as a result of their faith like Mother Teresa."|
|Amol Palekar||1944-||Bollywood and Marathi film actor||"Personally, I am an atheist and have no faith or belief in supernatural forces."|
|Ajita Kesakambali||6th century BCE||Ancient Indian materialist philosopher||"Fools and wise alike, on the dissolution of the body, are off, annihilated, and after death they are not."|
|Ashok Vajpeyi||1941-||Hindi poet and recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award||"I am a non-believer; I don’t have the gift of belief. But I read the two epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata) as great literary epics. I am not concerned with the divinity of it, and there are many others who aren’t either."|
|Baba Amte||1914-2008||Social activist|||
|Baichung Bhutia||1976-||Football player||"I am neither religious nor spiritual. But my being an atheist is more a matter of chance. I have been away from my family ever since I was a child and never really got a chance to imbibe the religious values of my parents. Usually, it is the family that teaches a child about religion."|
|Bhagat Singh||1907-1931||A well-known figure in the Indian independence movement||"As regard the origin of God, my thought is that man created God in his imagination when he realized his weaknesses, limitations and shortcomings."|
|C. P. Joshi||1950-||Former minister of Road Transport and Highways and former Railway Minister|||
|E. M. S. Namboodiripad||1909-1998||First Chief Minister of Kerala|||
|E. K. Nayanar||1918-2004||Former Chief Minister of Kerala|||
|Goparaju Ramachandra Rao||1902-1975||Atheist activist, participant in the Indian independence movement and founder of Atheist Centre||"Religious belief prevented the growth of a sense of realism. But atheism at once makes man realistic and alive to the needs of morality."|
|Har Dayal||1884-1939||Indian nationalist revolutionary, polymath and founder of the Ghadar Party||"If God loves virtue, why has he not made Man wholly virtuous?"|
|Innaiah Narisetti||1937-||Journalist, translator, president of Center for Inquiry, India and author of the book "Forced into Faith"||"Scientific temper demands proof and evidence. The god proposition came from religious persons. The burden of proof lies with the proposer."|
|Irfan Habib||1931-||Marxist historian||"No. I have not found any reasonable argument for the existence of any supernatural power. I came to this conscious realisation in my student days in the late 1940s, through the influence of Marxist literature."|
|J. B. S. Haldane||1892-1964||British born biologist who took Indian citizenship||"My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world."|
|Jagadish Shettar||1955-||Bharatiya Janata Party politician, 21st Chief Minister of Karnataka|||
|James Michael Lyngdoh||1939-||Former Chief Election Commissioner of India||"I have no religion, I am an atheist.”|
|Javed Akhtar||1945-||Poet, lyricist and scriptwriter||"Religion is based on faith - you aren't allowed to question or discuss it, and there is no logic or reason behind it. What is the difference between faith and stupidity?"|
|Jawaharlal Nehru||1889-1964||First Prime Minister of India||"What the mysterious is I do not know. I do not call it God because God has come to mean much that I do not believe in."|
|Jyoti Basu||1914-2010||Former Chief Minister of West Bengal|||
|K. Siddaramaiah||1948-||Current Chief Minister of Karnataka|||
|K. Shivaram Karanth||1902-1997||Jnanpith awardee Kannada novelist, considered himself a nontheist|||
|Kamal Haasan||1954-||Filmmaker and actor, known for making films having themes of both atheism and Brahminical Hinduism.||"Every religion has a podium, atheists do not have one. My films are my podium."|
|Khushwant Singh||1915-2014||Journalist and author of books such as Train to Pakistan, considers himself an agnostic||"I gave up religion nearly 40 years ago. I studied religion and realised it is all trash."|
|Lavanam Gora||1930-||Social reformer||"To be good and to do good, God is not necessary."|
|M. Karunanidhi||1924-||Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu|||
|M. N. Roy||1887-1954||Indian nationalist revolutionary, radical activist and political theorist|||
|Mani Shankar Aiyar||1941-||Diplomat and politician||"I am an atheist. A somewhat reluctant one because I have seen the comfort that religious conviction brings to many."|
|Meera Nanda||19??-||Writer and historian|||
|Motilal Nehru||1861-1931||an activist of the Indian National Movement, father of Jawaharlal Nehru|||
|Narendra Dabholkar||1945-2013||Rationalist, anti-superstition activist, founder and president of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti|||
|Narendra Nayak||1951-||President of Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations|||
|P. Chidambaram||1945-||Politician and former Finance Minister|||
|Dr. P. M. Bhargava||19??-||Biotechnologist and founder of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology||"A scientist can say without any feeling of guilt or shame, "I don’t know." Religious leaders would not be leaders if they did not claim to know everything and have answers to every question."|
|Payasi||c. 4th century BCE||Materialist philosopher||"Neither is there any other world, nor are there beings reborn otherwise than from parents, nor is there fruit or results of deeds, well done or ill done."|
|Periyar E. V. Ramasamy||1879-1973||Businessman, politician, Indian independence and social activist, started the Self respect movement and founder of the socio-cultural organisation, Dravidar Kazhagam.||"There is no god, there is no god, there is no god at all. He who invented god is a fool. He who propagates god is a scoundrel. He who worships god is a barbarian."|
|Prabir Ghosh||1946-||President of Science and Rationalists' Association Of India|||
|R. P. Paranjpe||1876-1966||Founding president of Indian Rationalist Association, and later High Commissioner of India in Australia and vice-chancellor of Bombay University|||
|Rajat Kapoor||1961-||Actor, writer and director||"I think God is a totally man-made concept that has been more harmful than beneficial to mankind. Man has waged war and hurt and killed each other for thousands of years in the name of a God he created. I believe there is no God, no heaven and no hell."|
|Rajeev Khandelwal||1975-||Actor||"I love to call myself an atheist. By atheist, I don't mean i would stand up and start delivering speeches on the non-existence of God. I am the kind of person who doesn't like wasting time on visiting religious places or performing rituals."|
|Rahul Bose||1967-||Actor||"I am an atheist, but being so doesn't stop me from respecting those who believe in religion."|
|Ram Gopal Varma||1962-||Film director||"I have always been an atheist ever since I can remember. Being an atheist, I believe there is a rational and scientific explanation to everything."|
|Ram Manohar Lohia||1910-1967||participant in the Indian independence movement|||
|S. Nijalingappa||1902-||Former Chief Minister of Karnataka|||
|Sadanand Dhume||Journalist and writer|||
|Salman Rushdie||1947-||Indian-born British Booker prize-winning novelist and knighted by Queen Elizabeth II||"I do not need the idea of God to explain the world I live in."|
|Satish Gujral||1925||Painter, writer and recipient of Padma Vibhushan award|||
|Satyajit Ray||1921-1991||Filmmaker and author|||
|Sreeni Pattathanam||19??-||Rationalist and atheist activist|||
|Shriram Lagoo||1927-||Actor and rationalist activist||"Believing existence of the God is itself a kind of superstition. Young people should not waste power of reasoning and thinking under such belief."|
|Siddaramaiah||1948-||Chief Minister of Karnataka (elected in 2013)||"I have not totally rejected God, I do visit temples but I have not made it a habit. My conscience is God to me. I believe in truth. I believe in the power of people. I don’t believe in superstition."|
|Sitaram Yechury||1952-||Member of the politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)|||
|Subhash Kapoor||19??-||Film director, producer and screenwriter|||
|Subhashini Ali||19??-||Politician, member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and President of the All India Democratic Women's Association||"I have always been an atheist. My parents were atheists. It doesn't bother me if somebody is religious. My problem is when religion is used to institutionalise other things."|
|Subramanyan Chandrasekhar||1910-1995||Indian-American astrophysicist who, with William A. Fowler, won the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics|||
|Suhasini Maniratnam||1961-||Actress||"I don't believe in God, in prayer, in going to temples begging God to give me and my family happiness. I am not asking everyone to be an atheist, but good thoughts are not spent in a temple."|
|Sushilkumar Shinde||1941-||Former Union Home Minister|||
|Teesta Setalvad||1962-||Civil rights activist and journalist||"I'm agnostic. You can insult a man's wife, his mother, and get away with it. But you can't insult his God without repercussions."|
|Thilakan||1935-2012||Malayalam film actor||“As an atheist, I feel I am better off than the believers. At least I act and speak according to my conscience.”|
|V. S. Achuthanandan||1923-||Former Chief Minister of Kerala|||
|Verghese Kurien||1921-2012||Father of the White Revolution|||
|Vijay Tendulkar||1928-2008||Marathi writer and dramatist|||
|Vinayak Damodar Savarkar||1883-1966||President of Hindu Mahasabha and the founder of the Hindutva movement, was also a Hindu atheist.|||
- Religion in India
- Superstition in India
- Atheism in Hinduism
- Freedom of religion in India
- Hate speech laws in India
- Secularism in India
- Chakravarti, Sitansu (1991). Hinduism, a way of life. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 71. ISBN 978-81-208-0899-7. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- Joshi, L.R. (1966). "A New Interpretation of Indian Atheism". Philosophy East and West (University of Hawai'i Press) 16 (3/4): 189–206. doi:10.2307/1397540. JSTOR 1397540.
- Phil Zuckerman (21 December 2009). "Chapeter 7: Atheism and Secularity in India". Atheism and Secularity. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-35182-2. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Global Index Of Religion And Atheism" (PDF). WIN-Gallup. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Y. Masih (1 January 2000). A Comparative Study of Religions. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 157. ISBN 978-81-208-0815-7. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Ramkrishna Bhattacharya (2011). Studies on the Carvaka/Lokayata. Anthem Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-85728-433-4. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- Mādhava (1908). The Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan; Charles A. Moore (1957). A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy (Twelfth Princeton Paperback printing 1989 ed.). Princeton University Press. pp. 227–249. ISBN 0-691-01958-4.
- Deepak Sarma (2011). Classical Indian Philosophy: A Reader. Columbia University Press. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-0-231-13399-9. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Eugene F. Bales (1987). A Ready Reference to Philosophy East and West. University Press of America. pp. 211–. ISBN 978-0-8191-6640-1. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- William M. Indich (1 January 2000). Consciousness in Advaita Vedanta. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 35–. ISBN 978-81-208-1251-2. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Richard King (1999). Indian Philosophy: An Introduction to Hindu and Buddhist Thought. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 52, 63. ISBN 978-0-7486-0954-3. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Surendranath Dasgupta (1992). A History of Indian Philosophy. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 238. ISBN 978-81-208-0412-8. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Dale Maurice Riepe (1 December 1996). Naturalistic Tradition in Indian Thought. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 210. ISBN 978-81-208-1293-2. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Andrew J. Nicholson (20 August 2013). Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History. Columbia University Press. pp. 118–. ISBN 978-0-231-52642-5. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Kedar, Nath Tiwari (1997). Comparative Religion. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 50. ISBN 81-208-0293-4.
- Arun Kumar Jain (1 January 2009). Faith & Philosophy of Jainism. Gyan Publishing House. p. 118. ISBN 978-81-7835-723-2. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- David J. Kalupahana (1 January 2008). Ethics in Early Buddhism. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-81-208-3280-0. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- K. R. Norman (1983). Pāli Literature: Including the Canonical Literature in Prakrit and Sanskrit of All the Hīnayāna Schools of Buddhism. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 40. ISBN 978-3-447-02285-9. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Surendranath Dasgupta (1992). A History of Indian Philosophy. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 106. ISBN 978-81-208-0412-8. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- A Comparative History of Ideas. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. 1992. p. 152. ISBN 978-81-208-1004-4. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press for the Royal Asiatic Society. 1862. p. 307. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Valmiki. "Ayodhya Kanda". Ramayana. p. Sarga 108–109.
- Mahadev Moreshwar Kunte (1880). The Vicissitudes of Âryan Civilization in India: An Essay, which Treats of the History of the Vedic and Buddhistic Polities, Explaining Their Origin, Prosperity, and Decline. printed at the Oriental Printing Press by N. W. Ghumre. p. 449. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Sanujit Ghose (1 January 2004). Legend of Ram: Antiquity to Janmabhumi Debate. Bibliophile South Asia. p. 140. ISBN 978-81-85002-33-0. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- James L. Fitzgerald (15 February 2003). The Mahabharata, Volume 7: Book 11: The Book of the Women Book 12: The Book of Peace. University of Chicago Press. pp. 255–258. ISBN 978-0-226-25250-6. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Arvind Sharma (1 January 2007). Essays on the Mahābhārata. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe. pp. 309–. ISBN 978-81-208-2738-7. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Warren Matthews (22 December 2011). World Religions, 7th ed. Cengage Learning. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-111-83472-2. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- Carl Sagan (1985). "Chapter 10". Cosmos. Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-33135-9.
- "Tracing the history of an unknown radical group". The Hindu. 5 October 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- Sankar Ghose (1993). Jawaharlal Nehru, a Biography. Allied Publishers. p. 332. ISBN 978-81-7023-369-5. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- Dale McGowan (7 September 2012). Voices of Unbelief: Documents from Atheists and Agnostics. ABC-CLIO. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-59884-978-3. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- Wiel Veugelers (16 November 2011). Education and Humanism: Linking Autonomy and Humanity. Springer. p. 114. ISBN 978-94-6091-577-2. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- Johannes Quack (22 November 2011). Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India. Oxford University Press. pp. 89, 338. ISBN 978-0-19-981260-8. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Robyn E. Lebron (January 2012). Searching for Spiritual Unity...Can There Be Common Ground?. CrossBooks. p. 532. ISBN 978-1-4627-1262-5. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "In India, atheism finds its voice". DNA India. 13 October 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "Indian atheists seek recognition in the land of a million gods". The Times of India. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- William Dalrymple (18 January 2010). "The Glitter In The Godliness". Outlook India. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Don’t vote for those who preach atheism: Kerala church body". The Indian Express. 24 March 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
- "Kerala Church makes a poll sermon". The Hindu Business Line. 12 April 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
- "Church blow to ‘atheist’ parties". The Telegraph (India). 26 July 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
- "FIR against rationalist for questioning ‘miracle’". Mumbai Mirror. 17 April 2012. Archived from the original on 15 June 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
- "Jesus wept … oh, it's bad plumbing. Indian rationalist targets 'miracles'". The Guardian. 23 November 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Think free and hug an atheist this Friday". DNA India. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "Give the atheist closest to you a hug". The New Indian Express. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "Rationalist Dabholkar shot dead". The Hindu. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Teacher cannot be forced to fold hands in school prayers: Bombay high court". The Times of India. 2 November 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- Constitution of India, Section 28 (a), 1950
- "Pray, what wrong did I do, asks atheist teacher". The Hindu. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "Bombay High Court answers atheist teacher's prayer; asks school to pay dues". DNA India. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "Citizen can declare that he does not belong to any religion: Bombay High Court". India Today. 26 Sep 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
- "Citizen can declare that he does not belong to any religion: Bombay High Court". The Indian Express. 24 Sep 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
- "Rationalists fight superstition with dignity and nunchakus". The Times of India. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Confrontation in the Twilight zone". Business Standard. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "Taslima on IBNLive chat: 'India is not a theocracy'". IBNLive. 18 January 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- "Muslim body announces Rs 5 lakh for Taslima's head". DNA India. 15 March 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- "Cleric files FIR against Taslima Nasreen's anti-fatwa tweet". The Times of India. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- "Rationalist leader's house attacked". The Hindu. 4 July 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "World Values Survey (2006) English source requested" (in Japanese). Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "More Indians have stopped believing in God: Survey". The Times of India. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "Indian scientists are secular, but religious: Survey". MSN. 16 May 2008. Archived from the original on 6 October 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- "Worldviews and Opinions of Scientists India 2007-08". Trinity College. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "God save Indian science". Telegraph India. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "Indian scientists significantly more religious than UK scientists". (e)Science News. 25 September 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- "Atheist Siddaramaiah and God's changing role in politics". Rediff.com. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- John Abraham. "John Abraham - FAQs". Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- Anurag Kashyap. "Anurag Kashyap - FAQs".
- "I don't believe in God: Amartya". The Indian Express. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "Supernatural syndrome is catching up". The Times of India. 22 January 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Geerpuram Nadadur Srinivasa Raghavan (2009). Discovering the Rigveda. Gyan Publishing House. p. 118. ISBN 978-81-7835-778-2. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Elements In Each Religion Nourish Violence’". Tehelka. 16 February 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Murlidhar Devidas ("Baba") Amte, champion of India's lepers and outcastes, died on February 9th, aged 93". The Economist. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
Atheist though he was, he saw the Narmada as a goddess whose beauty should be decorated only with micro-dams on a human scale.
- "I Am: Baichung Bhutia". The Times of India. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Bhagat Singh; Bhupendra Hooja (2007). Bhagat Singh, on the Path of Liberation. Bharathi Puthakalayam. p. 127. ISBN 978-81-89909-05-5. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Goparaju Ramachandra Rao. Atheism: Questions and Answers. Vijayawada. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Lala Har Dayal (1 January 1977). Hints For Self Culture. Jaico Publishing House. pp. 135–. ISBN 978-81-7224-283-1. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Parents impose their belief system on children". 29 July 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Great values come from secular thought: Irfan Habib". The Times of India. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (1934). Fact and Faith. Watts & Company. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Atheist Shettar to be sworn in minister today". DNA India. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
- "Cast In A Completely Different Mould". The Indian Express. 29 December 2002. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
- "Panel charts our religious journey". DNA India. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "An unusual friendship". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
During the course of writing a biography on Mother Teresa, I asked Chief Minister Jyoti Basu what he, a Communist and atheist, could possibly have in common with Mother Teresa for whom God was everything. With a smile that reached his eyes, he said: 'We both share a love for the poor.'
- Si. En Rāmacandran (2001). K. Shivarama Karanth. Sahitya Akademi. p. 27. ISBN 978-81-260-1071-4. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "Don’t let mediocrity be the standard:Kamal". The Times of India. 10 March 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "He has made history by writing it". Indian Express. 7 May 1999. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "Lavanam Address Indian Secularism". The Harvard Crimson. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
- "Anti-Hindu rhetoric nothing new for atheist DMK chief". Indian Express. 12 July 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Atheist Karunanidhi visits temple". IBNLive. 16 February 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- "Act in a manner acceptable to God: Karunanidhi". Rediff.com. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- Christopher Alan Bayly; C. A. Bayly (10 November 2011). Recovering Liberties: Indian Thought in the Age of Liberalism and Empire. Cambridge University Press. p. 317. ISBN 978-1-139-50518-5. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "I Am: Mani Shankar Aiyar". The Times of India. 7 January 2006. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "This Meera’s raga". Indian Express. 3 May 2005. Archived from the original on 16 May 2005. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Santimay Chatterjee, Enakshi Chatterjee (1984). Meghnad Saha, scientist with a vision. National Book Trust, India. p. 5.
Even though he later came to be known as an atheist, Saha was well-versed in all religious texts— though his interest in them was purely academic.
- Shashi Tharoor (16 October 2007). Nehru: The Invention of India. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 1899, 1902, 1895. ISBN 978-93-5118-018-0. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Narendra Nayak (10 October 2010). "Swearing by God: An Atheist’s Experiences In Indian Courts". Nirmukta. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- Pushpa Mittra Bhargava (4 February 2008). "Why am I an atheist?". International Humanist and Ethical Union. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- Gail Omvedt (1 January 2006). Dalit Visions: The Anti-caste Movement and the Construction of an Indian Identity. Orient Blackswan. p. 56. ISBN 978-81-250-2895-6. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- "About: Prabir Ghosh". Science and Rationalists' Association. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- Aroon Tikekar; Aruṇa Ṭikekara (1 January 2006). The Cloister's Pale: A Biography of the University of Mumbai. Popular Prakashan. p. 107. ISBN 978-81-7991-293-5. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- "Rationalist International Bulletin 21". 21 October 1999. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "I Am: Rajat Kapoor". The Times of India. 6 May 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "I Am: Rajeev Khandelwal". The Times of India. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Rahul Bose (17 September 2006). "I Am Rahul Bose". The Times of India. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "RGV in Chennai to promote Phoonk". Sify.com. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
I have always been an atheist ever since I can remember. Being an atheist, I believe there is a rational and scientific explanation to everything.
- "An Indian atheist takes on the Islamist world in Indonesia". The Jakarta Post. 10 August 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "Talking With David Frost". 23 November 1993. Missing or empty
- "Periyar survives controversies, censor cuts". The Indian Express. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "Partition Prodigy". Tehelka. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
“I saw widespread rape and murder on both sides. It went on for six months. So when I sat down to paint, the inhumanity of man to man became my first theme,” says Gujral, an atheist who hates all organised religion.
- Satyajit Ray (2007). Satyajit Ray: Interviews. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-57806-937-8. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
- "Belief in God is superstition: Lagoo". Sakaal Times. 2 January 2010. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Siddaramaiah: My conscience is my God". Deccan Chronicle. 16 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "'Kashmiris speak of azadi passionately even in hospitals'". The Times of India. 26 September 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
We are atheists but we have full respect for people's faith.
- "I still fly kites even though I lost my arm flying one: Subhash Kapoor". The Times of India. 6 March 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Patriarchal societies have always felt the need to control and curb women". Rediff.com. 8 August 2001. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Henry F. Schaefer (2003). Science and Christianity: Conflict Or Coherence?. The Apollos Trust. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-9742975-0-7. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Getting to know Suhasini Maniratnam". Rediff.com. 14 July 2006. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Meet Mumbai's Piper at the gates of truth". DNA India. 4 October 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "Thilakan suspended; says Mammootty’s statement is eyewash". UK Malayalee. 1 March 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "God does not exist, says Thilakan". The New Indian Express. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "Verghese Kurien, father of India’s "white revolution", died on September 9th, aged 90". The Economist. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- "Noted playwright Vijay Tendulkar dead". Rediff. 19 May 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- Nandy, Ashis (2003). Time Warps: The Insistent Politics of Silent and Evasive Pasts. Delhi: Orient Longman. p. 71. ISBN 978-81-7824-071-8. OCLC 49616949.
- Kumar, Pramod (1992). Towards Understanding Communalism. Chandigarh: Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development. p. 348. ISBN 978-81-85835-17-4. OCLC 27810012.
VD Savarkar was publicly an atheist. Even when he was the Hindu Mahasabha leader he used to publicly announce and advertise lectures on atheism, on why god is not there and why all religions are false. That is why when defining Hindutva, he said, Hindutva is not defined by religion and tried to define it in a non-religious term: Punyabhoomi.
- Johannes Quack (22 November 2011). Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-981260-8.