Indian Rationalist Association
Indian Rationalist Association is a voluntary organisation in India whose 100,000 members promote scientific skepticism and critique supernatural claims. It publishes books and magazines, organises seminars and lectures and its representatives regularly appear in TV and print media exposing superstitions. The Indian Rationalist Association was founded in 1949 at Chennai (then Madras). The founding president was Dr R.P. Paranjpye (later High Commissioner of India in Australia and vice-chancellor of Bombay University). Sanal Edamaruku, well-known broadcaster and author, is its president.
The Indian Rationalist Association has branches in different states of India, with the headquarters of the association located in New Delhi. The Indian Rationalist Association took the initiative to form the Rationalist International in 1995 and organised three International Rationalist Conferences in co-operation with it.
The Indian Rationalist Association attempts to oppose superstition and pseudoscience in India. It has led media and educational campaigns debunking the Monkey-man of Delhi monster hysteria, godmen, claims of miraculous milk-drinking statues, superstitions related to solar eclipses, and even the beliefs behind ritual human sacrifices.
Sometimes referred to as "guru busters," the group critiques India's culturally influential godmen. Performing magic demonstrations that replicate the purportedly miraculous feats of the godmen, such as walking on coals, producing sacred ash from thin air, exploding stones with "mental power," levitating, or turning water into blood. Thousands of volunteers assist with these demonstrations throughout India.
Similarly, the Indian Rationalist Association demonstrate on television how ordinary statues can appear to drink milk and other fluids.
Working with the Dakshina Kannada Rationalist Association, the Indian Rationalist Association opposed a 2009 proposal to make yoga a compulsory subject for high school and primary school students in Mangalore.
History Tips - Rise and Fall of Indian Rationalist Association (IRA):
The years covering 1978 through 1979 and 1980 marked painful incidents in the history of Indian Rationalist Association. The DMEC (Divine Miracle Exposure Campaign) conducted across the Country during the period 1975-76 had given unprecedented popularity for the rationalist movement. Organized Rationalist Associations came up in each and every State and each of the State units got affiliated to IRA as parent body of rationalists and atheists in the Country. But suddenly an unexpected body blow struck the IRA. Jyothi Shankar who dedicated his work for more than three decades to build IRA as a powerful movement to spread scientific attitude and to live life freed from superstitious beliefs, left for Canada on domestic and personal grounds. A Suryanarayana, the then General Secretary and core activist of the movement had to leave Madras due to his transfer as an Executive Officer of Indian Oil Corporation. That was the time when Joseph Edamaruku, a staunch rationalist activist and writer of atheist literature was made one of the Vice-Presidents of IRA. He along with his family had already shifted from his home town at Kottayam in Kerala to New Delhi and settled there. Mr. Joseph vented his strong desire to shift the headquarters of IRA to New Delhi, the capital city of India. Since there were no responsible activists available in Madras at that point of time to look after the affairs of IRA, his request was conceded and the headquarters of IRA thus became the residence of Edamaurku clan at Delhi. But things did not end there: Soon after the event, Joseph Edamaruku came down to Madras and shifted Ramanathan Library with its precious collection of books and periodicals to his residential house in Delhi. Thus there ended the life of the famous Ramanathan library: It became a part of Eadamaruku Library along with the Indian Rationalist Association. Indian Rationalist Association is still alive but as a proprietary concern of the Edamaruku clan. Joseph Edamaruku became the President of the Association and with his demise later, his son Sanal Edamaruku took over the robe of the President of the IRA.
There thus elapsed the real IRA which was formed by a Britisher in the year 1949 at Bombay and then got shifted to Madras and continued to be there till the end of the nineteen-seventies.
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