At a time when the Malayalis are reveling in obscurantism of all sorts, ranging from vasthu to alternative medicine and vedic mathematics to astrology, a small group of dedicated and committed volunteers have taken up an ambitious task of bringing back the scientific temper to the society.
`Swathanthra Lokam’, is a Facebook community of people from different backgrounds such as doctors, journalists, teachers and IT professionals, who are united for a cause.Some of them are former members of the Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham, who parted ways with the organization on some fundamental issues.Others are activists of Kerala Free Thinkers Forum and Science Trust, Kozhikode. “Our primary aim is to carry forward the rational thought process started by people like Sahodaran Ayyapan. Somehow, it was was stalled midway in Kerala, unlike in the West where it was allowed to bloom completely ,” said Dr C Viswanathan editor of Yukthi Yugam, the organ of the collective and a specialist in orthopaedics.
For the Swathanthra Lokam activists, the Western society is a model in many respects. “They are an open and a post-religious society but we still carry many traces of a tribal life. We seek to demolish the clan mentality and modernize the socie ty,” Viswanathan said.
Naturally fundamentalists of all hues view Swathanthra Lokam community as their opponents. They are in an open confrontation with practitioners of naturopathy and homeopathy , which they believe have no scientific basis. “We were actively involved in debunking cheating in the name of mid-brain activation. We oppose everything that is against sci ence and reason. We resist all regressions happening in our society be it the reversal from Sree Narayana Guru to Vellappally Natesan or Nehru to Modi,” said Anu Vinod, an IT professional and an active worker of the group.
The activists of Swathanthra Lokam also take on religious dogmas fearlessly in their endeavour for a free society. E A Jabbar, a teacher from Malappuram, relentlessly fight against the dogmas in Islam and questions the very basis of the religion. Viswanathan has delivered talks against futility of rituals such as yagas and yagnas.
The reactions from the other side had come in many forms including mass reporting to suspend Facebook account to open abuse in social media and even physical attacks. “I was assaulted several times in the past.Once a mob had barged into my house and threatened me. On another occasion I was attacked with iron rods. But nothing stopped me from campaigning against the Islamic fundamentalists,” said Jabbar.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> city> Kochi / by M.P. Prashanth, TNN / December 31st, 2015