Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations

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Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations
Formation1997; 24 years ago (1997)
TypeNonprofit organisation
PurposeTo work for implementation of Art. 51AH of Indian Constitution and for its fundamental rights except Art. (30)
Region served
India
Founder
Basava Premanand
Websitefira.org.in

The Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA) is an umbrella body of 83 (as of 2012)[1] rationalist, atheist, skeptic, secularist and scientist organisations in India.

As an apex body of rationalist organisations, it is committed to the development of scientific temper and humanism in India, involved in promoting tolerance, critical thinking, women's rights, secularization, and freedom of expression, and fighting against the caste system of Hinduism and its violence (especially towards Dalit population), superstition, pseudoscience, and child marriage.

History[edit]

Basava Premanand, founder-convener of FIRA

The Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations was launched on 7 February 1997 following the 10th Kerala State Conference of Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham. The stated purpose of the organization is to coordinate the activities of the member organizations at the national level.[2]

Basava Premanand is the founder of the FIRA who died on 4 October 2009.[3] Shortly before his death, Premanand put out a statement declaring his commitment to rationalism to prevent false rumors that he had turned to god on his deathbed.[4]

In 2004, Premanand put forth a proposal for Narendra Nayak to become president of FIRA at a general body meeting held at Bhatinda, Punjab. It was unanimously accepted. Premanand and Nayak met in 1980 or 1981 when Nayak was the secretary of Dakshina Kannada Rationalist Association.[5] U. Kalanathan of Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham is the current General Secretary of the organization. FIRA has grown from about 50 organizations in 2005 to 83 organizations in 2012.[6]

Affiliation to IHEU[edit]

FIRA is affiliated to International Humanist and Ethical Union and supports minimum statement on Humanism (as required by IHEU bylaw 5.1[7]) and the Amsterdam Declaration 2002.

Minimum statement[edit]

"Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality."

FIRA member organisations[edit]

Name Based in Founded Notes
Akhil Bhartiya Anddashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti Nagpur, Maharashtra 1982[8] National organisation
AMOFOI (Anti-caste Marriage & One-child Family Organization of India) Bhubaneswar, Odisha 1980 Founding unit since 1997
Ananthapur Rationalist Association Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh Rationalist Association Khammam, Andhra Pradesh
ARIVU Bellary, Karnataka
Arjak Sangh Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh
Atheist Centre Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh 1940
Atheist Society of India Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh 13 February 1972
AT Kovoor Memorial Trust Kozhikode, Kerala
Bihar Buddhiwadi Samaj Patna, Bihar 1985
Bombay-Gujarat Rationalist Association Ankleshwar, Gujarat
Dakshina Kannada Rationalist Association Mangalore, Karnataka 1976
Democratic Action Forum of Dalits, Women and Minorities Kolkata, West Bengal
Ekasila Activity and Education Society Itarsi/Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh
Federation of Karnataka Rationalist Associations Karnataka State umbrella
Freethinkers Forum Bangalore, Karnataka
Goa Science Forum Goa
Hyderabad Rationalist Forum Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Indian Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Paranormal Podanur, Tamil Nadu 19??
Jana Vijnana Vedika Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
Karnataka Federation of Rationalist Associations Karnataka State umbrella
Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham Kerala 1935 [9]
Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) Pune, Maharashtra 1989[10] Maharashtra state branch
Manava Vikasa Vedika Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Manavatavadi Vishwa Sansthan Rajghat, Kurukshetra, Haryana
Mandya Science Forum Mandya, Karnataka
Orissa Rationalist Association Odisha
Periyar Rationalists Forum Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Rationalists' Forum Tamil Nadu
Rationalist Society Haryana
Maharashtra Rationalist Association Mumbai
Satya Shodhak Sabha Surat, Gujarat
Science and Rationalists' Association of India Kolkata, West Bengal 1985
Science for Society Jharkhand 2010
Science for Society Bihar 2010
Science Trust Kozhikode, Kerala
Soshit Samaj Jharkhand
Tarksheel Society Punjab 1984[11] [12]
TRUST Bhubaneswar
Vicharavadi Sangham Bangalore, Karnataka

National conferences[edit]

FIRA has so far convened twelve national conferences:

  1. Palakkad, Kerala: 7 February 1997
  2. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh: 21 & 22 March 1998
  3. Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu: 7, 8 & 9 December 2001
  4. Mangalore, Karnataka: 10 & 11 May 2003
  5. Bhatinda, Punjab: 2, 3 & 4 April 2004
  6. Pune, Maharashtra: 28 & 29 April 2007
  7. Chennai, Tamil Nadu: 26 & 27 December 2009
  8. Nagpur, Maharashtra: 11 & 12 February 2012
  9. Brahmapur, Odisha: 24 & 25 December 2014
  10. Trivandrum, Kerala: 24 & 25 February 2017
  11. Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh: 5 & 6 January 2018
  12. Mumbai, Maharashtra: 9, 10 & 11 August 2019

Targeted attacks on rationalists[edit]

Gauri Lankesh, 14 January 2012
Our Fight to Bring in the Anti-black Magic Law in India, presented by Shantanu Abhyankar at CSICon 2018

Although India is a secular democracy, blasphemy laws are still enforced under the Indian penal code and threats of violence are common for members of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations. Secular organizations such as FIRA have received pushback and protest from far-right groups.[13]

In 2017, Gauri Lankesh was assassinated by an unknown terrorist in her home. She was a journalist and rationalist. She was outspoken against Hindutva, a right-wing Indian nationalist movement. The Columbia Journalism Review states that the Hindutva is "associated with activities ranging from lynchings, riots, and bomb blasts to threats of rape, dismemberment, incarceration, and hanging of people critical of them and their sectarian idea of India."[14] Narendra Nayak of FIRA, along with many other international skeptical organizations, condemned the assassination of Gauri Lankesh in a CFI press release stating, "as a fellow member on the hit list of these organizations, I feel sad that I have lost a good friend and a supporter. She was one of those who was not afraid to speak her mind on any issue which she felt was important."[15]

Narendra Dabholkar of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) was assassinated by gun shot on 20 August 2013 in Pune, Maharashtra. The assassination followed the introduction of the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Bill which was deemed "anti-Hindu" by far-right groups.[16] In 2018, Dr. Shantanu Abhyankar, President, Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, presented at CSICon discussing the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Bill.

See also[edit]

Similar organisations[edit]

Rationalism and science in ancient India[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sankar (8 March 2012). "VIII – FIRA National Conference – V.Kumaresan". The Modern Rationalist. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  2. ^ "About Us - FIRA". Indian Sceptic. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  3. ^ "Basava Premanand - A Great Skeptic & Human Being". cārvāka 4 india. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  4. ^ Nayak, Narendra (22 September 2009). "Premanand in Abhirami Hospital, Coimbatore". Nirmukta. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  5. ^ Nayak, Narendra (15 October 2009). "Premanand – My Ideological Father". Nirmukta. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  6. ^ "History". FIRA. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Pvt. Shyam Manav, founder of Ashbhaashraddha Nirmulan Samiti". www.abans.org.in. Akhilbhartiya Andhashradha Nirmulan Samiti. 17 November 2018. Retrieved 17 November 2018. All India Superstition Nirmulan Samiti has been formed in 1982 from all over Maharashtra including Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan etc.
  9. ^ Kerala Yukthivadi website
  10. ^ Priyanka Kakodkar (21 August 2013). "He was not against God but fought exploitation". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  11. ^ Nagar, Munish (8 May 2006), "Man With a Mission: Indian teaches science to locals to overcome superstitions", OhmyNews, retrieved 18 August 2009
  12. ^ Tarksheel website
  13. ^ Dore, Bhavya. "Nonreligious in India face hostility, danger". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  14. ^ Deb, Siddhartha. "The killing of Gauri Lankesh". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  15. ^ "INTERNATIONAL SKEPTIC ORGANIZATIONS CONDEMN THE MURDER OF GAURI LANKESH IN INDIA". Center for Inquiry. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  16. ^ Ghosh, Deepshikha. "Renowned rationalist Narendra Dabholkar shot dead in Pune". NDTV. Retrieved 18 January 2020.

External links[edit]