Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations
|Purpose||To work for implementation of Art. 51AH of Indian Constitution and for its fundamental rights except Art. (30)|
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.
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.
Basava Premanand is the founder of the FIRA who died on 4 October 2009. 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.
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. 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.
Affiliation to IHEU
"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
FIRA has so far convened twelve national conferences:
- Palakkad, Kerala: 7 February 1997
- Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh: 21 & 22 March 1998
- Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu: 7, 8 & 9 December 2001
- Mangalore, Karnataka: 10 & 11 May 2003
- Bhatinda, Punjab: 2, 3 & 4 April 2004
- Pune, Maharashtra: 28 & 29 April 2007
- Chennai, Tamil Nadu: 26 & 27 December 2009
- Nagpur, Maharashtra: 11 & 12 February 2012
- Brahmapur, Odisha: 24 & 25 December 2014
- Trivandrum, Kerala: 24 & 25 February 2017
- Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh: 5 & 6 January 2018
- Mumbai, Maharashtra: 9, 10 & 11 August 2019
Delegates of 8th National Conference of FIRA held in Nagpur
A delegate exposing a so-called 'miracle' of eating fire at the 8th FIRA conference in Nagpur
Targeted attacks on rationalists
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.
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." 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."
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. In 2018, Dr. Shantanu Abhyankar, President, Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, presented at CSICon discussing the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Bill.
- Prabir Ghosh
- Basava Premanand
- List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal
- Narendra Nayak
- Narendra Dabholkar
- Indian Humanist Association
- Indian Rationalist Association
- Indian Secular Society
- Radical Humanist Association of India
- Maharashtra Rationalist Association
- Science and Rationalists Association of India
- Manavatavadi Vishwa Sansthan (The International School of Humanitarian Thoughts and Practice), Rajghat, Kurukshetra, Haryana
- Manavavedhy Kerala
Rationalism and science in ancient India
- Ajita Kesakambali
- Atheism in Hinduism
- History of science and technology in India
- Bārhaspatya Sūtras
- Lokayata: A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism
- 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.
- "About Us - FIRA". Indian Sceptic. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- "Basava Premanand - A Great Skeptic & Human Being". cārvāka 4 india. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- Nayak, Narendra (22 September 2009). "Premanand in Abhirami Hospital, Coimbatore". Nirmukta. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- Nayak, Narendra (15 October 2009). "Premanand – My Ideological Father". Nirmukta. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- "History". FIRA. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "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.
- Kerala Yukthivadi website
- Priyanka Kakodkar (21 August 2013). "He was not against God but fought exploitation". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- Nagar, Munish (8 May 2006), "Man With a Mission: Indian teaches science to locals to overcome superstitions", OhmyNews, retrieved 18 August 2009
- Tarksheel website
- Dore, Bhavya. "Nonreligious in India face hostility, danger". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- Deb, Siddhartha. "The killing of Gauri Lankesh". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- "INTERNATIONAL SKEPTIC ORGANIZATIONS CONDEMN THE MURDER OF GAURI LANKESH IN INDIA". Center for Inquiry. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- Ghosh, Deepshikha. "Renowned rationalist Narendra Dabholkar shot dead in Pune". NDTV. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- Report on 8th National Conference of FIRA held in Nagpur in February 2012
- Report on 7th National Conference of FIRA in The Modern Rationalist
- Report on Fourth National Conference of FIRA in The Hindu
- Fighting for Separation of Religion and State in India : IHEU report on the demonstration organized by FIRA in support of Secularism on Parliament Street in New Delhi.
- Humanism in India today IHEU report
- FIRA's Proposal : A brief report in The Tribune, Chandigarh, on the demonstration organized by FIRA in support of Secularism on Parliament Street in New Delhi
- Rationalists target yoga, spirituality, Art of Living : Report in Indian Express on the 6th National Conference of FIRA (Accessed on 2 May 2007)