July 31, 2017

Secularism vs Sickularism! And the winner is...

As our PM Modi calls for strict action and immediate FIRs against Gau Raksha vigilantes, we need to think far beyond. Such acts won't vanish till we allow secularism to be mocked and in fact become fashionable through the use of words like "sickulars" to describe secular people. Our PM now needs to clearly and loudly state that not only would killing of human beings in the name of cow protection be treated with an iron hand but even any statement against our constitutional pledge to be a secular state won't be tolerated. Secularism should be the only religion of this nation till people become atheists – that is, till they give up their immature and illogical religions based on the false concept of existence of different varieties of man-made Gods.
 In fact, leave alone religion and god, to me personally, it's a shame that in 2017, we still have a word called atheists. I mean, do we have a word for those who believe that the Earth is round? Do we have a word for those who believe 2 + 2 = 4? Do we have a word for those who believe that humans can't fly? Do we have a word for those who believe that humans cant have ten heads? Well, the answer is no. Because all that is normal and requires basic intelligence. On the contrary, if we were to define people who don't understand such basic logic, we would need to form a new word that would basically mean "low IQ people in need of special care." 
If we don't have a word for people believing in basic and normal things, then why do we have a word for those who don't believe in God, something for which, in 4 billion years of existence of Earth, there has been no evidence? I often wonder, why don't we address the believers of God simply as "low IQ people in need of special care"? 
Actually, I am not joking. Research after research has proven that people who believe in God or religion have lower IQ. Just take a look at some of the below mentioned studies: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mrpersonality/ 201312/why-are-religious-peoplegenerally- less-intelligent 

However, my idea in writing this article was not to humiliate anyone who believes in God. Only education can help them overcome their intellectual handicap; and over time, just the way people learnt that the Earth is round and it goes around the Sun and 2 + 2 = 4, they will learn that there can't be anything called God and being religious is really stupid. The real problem is that schools and colleges don't give us real education. They don't make us question everything that's not based on evidence. 

As I keep saying, I am always worried about kids seeing their favorite biology teacher – who teaches about evolution and fossils – at a Sunday mass/Thursday Sai Baba temple/Friday namaz... The kids clearly would learn nothing, for if evolution were to be true, and the biology teacher really believed in it, she wouldn't be found in a church or a temple. The same goes for the physics teacher who teaches about the universe and at the same time wears a stone on his finger; or the chemistry teacher who teaches about the chemicals required to spot life on other planets and keeps a Monday fast or eats vegetarian food on Tuesdays; or the history teacher who is supposed to teach about facts of the past and comes to the classroom with a red tika on his forehead; and the geography teacher who is supposed to teach about the formation of landscapes and keeps navratra fasts. Because then there is no need to teach anything, as God believers have one answer for everything – God created it! That's genuinely scary and pitiable. Imagine, then what's the need of teaching all these subjects like biology, chemistry, geography et al? After all, where is the role of science compared to, for example, the amazing intelligence of primitives who wrote the Bible, where all the species of animals on this planet stay within walking distance of Noah's house! We can either teach in class how life on Earth came as a result of the process of evolution over 4 billion years or teach how God created man and woman. We can either teach how rains happen scientifically or teach how praying to rain Gods and fasting for it, brings rains. If we teach the former we must not do the latter. 
The premier institutions across the globe don't teach about the irrationality of primitive, unscientific and brainless religious systems and don't have proper subjects on relationships and sex. Instead, across the world, one would find a cross or a church inside the campus, a Ganesha or a Saraswati statue at the entrance of the school, or prayers to the non-existent Lord every morning... And with this, we give rise to generations of idiots and semi-frustrated and unbalanced souls... Those who will either disrespect others on the basis of man-made stupid differentiations like caste, colour or religion, or on the basis of sex. Someone will put pathetic forwards on religion (either running down some other religion or praising their own – both of which are signs of equal amounts of stupidity and lack of rationale) and someone else on women... And we will have a nation trying to deal with Gau Raksha vigilantes and rapists. Religious fools and sexists, two typical character traits of the ill-educated garbage that premier institutions keep producing all across the world. 

As I mentioned earlier, that religious individuals have low IQ is quite evident by almost all researches done around the world: however, those who – apart from practicing it – go to the extent of pulling down other religions in public and in public forums like Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, You Tube etc are perfect examples additionally of how religion finally makes you irrational extremists. Be it Islam, Christianity, Sikhism or Hinduism.

That brings me to the original question in the heading! Secularism vs Sickularism. And the winner is.... quite evident from a beautifully written article that I read the other day:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ourhumanity- naturally/201103/misinformation-andfacts- about-secularism-and-religion 
In this article, David Niose brings out how secularism not only is rational but also leads to less crime, sexism, murders and every ill one can think of. The article is based on a path-breaking research paper by Phil Zuckerman of Pitzer College, titled Atheism, Secularity, and Well- Being: How the Findings of Social Science Counter Negative Stereotypes and Assumptions.

 Zuckerman analyzed a wide array of data comparing religious nations to less religious nations and also, interestingly, religious states within the United States (i.e. "Bible-belt" states) to less religious states. 
He found out that religious people were more likely to engage in: 
Criminal behavior: Citing four different studies, Zuckerman states: "Murder rates are actually lower in more secular nations and higher in more religious nations where belief in God is widespread." 
He also states: "Of the top 50 safest cities in the world, nearly all are in relatively nonreligious countries." Within the United States, we see the same pattern. Citing census data, he writes: "And within America, the states with the highest murder rates tend to be the highly religious, such as Louisiana and Alabama, but the states with the lowest murder rates tend to be the among the least religious in the country, such as Vermont and Oregon." 
And these findings are not limited to murder rates, as rates of all violent crimes tend to be higher in "religious" states. Zuckerman also points out that atheists are very much under-represented in the American prison population (only 0.2%). 
Marriage and family: Zuckerman cites a 1999 Barna study that finds that atheists and agnostics actually have lower divorce rates than religious Americans. He also cites another study, in Canada that found that conservative Christian women experienced higher rates of domestic violence than non-affiliated women.
Unprotected sex: ...Teens who make religioninspired "virginity pledges" are not only just as likely as their non-pledging peers to engage in premarital sex, but more likely to engage in unprotected sex. 
Not just the above, but he also observed that atheists were happier people. The most secular nations in the world report the highest levels of happiness among their population. Similarly, atheists were more altruistic: Secular nations such as those in Scandinavia donate the most money and supportive aid, per capita, to poorer nations. Zuckerman also reports that two studies show that, during the Holocaust, "the more secular people were, the more likely they were to rescue and help persecuted Jews."

  Research after research has proven that people who believe in God or religion have lower IQ


And last but not the least, Zuckerman, citing numerous studies, shows that atheists and agnostics, when compared to religious people, were actually less likely to be nationalistic, racist, anti-Semitic, dogmatic, ethnocentric, and authoritarian. Secularism also correlates to higher education levels. Atheists and other secular people are also much more likely to support women's rights and gender equality, as well as gay and lesbian rights. Religious individuals are more likely to support government use of torture .

Need I write more about the virtues of secularism? The Chinese Communist Party has directed its people to give up religion. Yes, while becoming non-religious should be the ultimate goal of education and every nation, the minimum we need to start is by making secularism a non negotiable tenet of daily life. Something that can't be questioned. Something that can't be mocked. Instead of making it mandatory for Indians to stand for national anthems in cinema halls and fanning primitive concepts of nationalism that are actually non-secular and racist (specially in the case of India where nationalism instantly means abusing Pakistanis, which in turns fans anti-Muslim feelings and turns non secular), the Supreme Court might as well make it mandatory to respect secular tenets of the Constitution of India.

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June 15, 2017

Idiots And Their Intercourse Sanctimoniousness!

I await good cinema! And I await commercial cinema with a hope they will be good! I love Ray’s Pather Paanchaali and have seen it as many times as I have seen Sholay! And I love Irfan Khan and I adore SRK!
So when the mini-trails of Jab Harry Met Sejal were released, I was very excited. SRK hasn’t delivered something exceptional in a long time. And this looked like it. It’s got the Badshah of Bollywood SRK, the empress of acting Anoushka and the undisputed king of poetic direction Imtiaz Ali helming it. In fact, the second mini-trail was indeed exceptional. It gave a feel that this would be fun to watch!! In the same, Sejal comes to Harry with an indemnity bond stating that in case they were to have any sexual intimacy or full intercourse, Harry would be absolved of all legal charges. Harry obviously finds it very exciting – specially in these days of over the top definitions of date rapes and false accusations worldwide (without trying to trivialize the same – BBC News; Does India have a problem with false rape claims?; http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-38796457).
But while Harry found it a fun and exciting proposition, some rank idiots sitting at the censor board found it vulgar. What else would you expect with that nincompoop Nihalani heading it? But I think the problem is not just with such rank uninitiated idiots. This overthe-top morality is becoming a sign of the new cow-dung worshipping, cow-brained India being lead by anomic non state actors like gauraksha groups, that is slowly but steadily making India a killing field (The Times of India; Accused of carrying beef, teen killed on train; http://toi.in/CR9wlb/a18ag) in the name of culture, cows and religious supremacy. We have no stronghanded clampdown on such madness coming from the top; and at the bottom, we have various gau rakshak vigilante brigades getting a nod from people like even our home secretary (The Home Secretary thinks lynchings are overhyped. “I think they are over-hyped and over reported,” says Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi on lynching incidents in India; http://indiatoday. intoday.in/story/union-home-secretarylynchings/1/987029.html). It is so much so that every 5th case of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh is today linked to cow vigilantism! And it’s all because the powers that are, are hellbent on creating antagonism between religious groups to polarize votes.
Any way, coming back to intercourse. It’s time for specially Indians to really come out clean and relaxed about it. It’s time for people to stop being sanctimonious about it. Definitions of marriages, sex, judging people on the basis of their sexual preferences and number of partners is thankfully becoming totally outdated. But sadly, while the world is moving forward, we are moving coward.

Recently, The New York Times did a path breaking piece on open marriages
And while my views on this are far less apologetic and clearer than the way this rare and lovely article addresses the issue, the reality is that the world is heading towards a far more liberal attitude towards sex than our cow-vigilantes would allow.
The hypocrisy in our society with respect to liberal attitudes towards sex comes out clearly when on one hand a bit arty film called Pink becomes a super hit and an article I write on that gets endless likes and positive feedback (https://www.facebook.com/chaudhuri.arindam/posts/10154973196260016:0), on the other hand, an equally lovely commercial film about the lifestyle that can perhaps lead you to the fate of the lady in Pink is trashed and the praise for it gets back only abuses (https://www.facebook.com/chaudhuri.arindam/posts/10155229900760016:0). We love moral lectures around women’s equality but get unnerved when we see them enjoying life like men do. So Pink is acceptable – after all, the leading lady is crying, is weak and takes help of a man to set the bad guy right – but the leading lady getting an indemnity bond to enjoy sexual intercourse without legal hassles raises eyebrows. We love PK and make it a bumper hit and yet the very next day like low IQ cows stand in front of a cow, worshiping it for better results in our exams or for a business deal to strike or to win elections.
Actually, the problem is also that for far too long, we have stupidly inflated things like the immature and unintelligent virtuousness of being a virgin etc. and tied down women with far too many stereotypes.
Truth is, of course, that neither is there any virtue in those stereotypes and, more hilariously, nor have women ever been like that. I have been telling everyone for more than two decades now: get married only if you want a/another sibling to share your life with... Not if you are thinking of having the initial feeling of crazed up attraction forever. If some people manage to retain that, my respects. But it’s necessarily quite unnatural – scientifically and logically.


As The New York Times’ piece suggests – and I strongly believe – to get that feeling of attraction, which is a natural desire, perhaps you need to realize that you need to look beyond the concept of marriage. For we need to understand that a marriage is a creation by the society to legalize something which never needed any legalizing. It was a creation to dominate women and brand them as one’s personal property. While officially men were also supposed to become the same (barring in Islam where women had to possibly share them with three more women officially), the fact is they never cared. But men failed to realize the other reality. Women also never really cared. Men only lived an illusory life thinking that their women remained their personal property. Because for every man looking for a relationship outside his marriage, there was an equal number of women. It was never one woman satisfying the needs of the rest of the 3.5 billion men (assuming all men have been looking for relations outside their marriage, as all women like to point out)!!! So while men, being dominating, were non caring, women, being raised up to be careful and protective of themselves in general, thus became more sly and secretive and thus became better liars. So, many more men got caught, while women only charged their men and cried victim, while hiding their relations nicely (and often using these tears to get into newer and more secretive relationships). That’s all. While men know that someone else’s wife is having a relationship (with him or his friends), they generally had less idea about their wife and some other man had more!
In a nutshell, it’s time now to give up traditional religion-based completely irrelevant concepts of marriage. We can raise children without getting married; we can have children without getting married; we can live happily without getting married; and most importantly, we can love someone of the opposite sex as deeply and have intercourse with them freely without getting married.
In fact, the obsession with being the sole sexual right holder of your partner is the reason behind breaking down of love and relations. Getting to realize that, respecting each other’s independence, and giving each other space is the only way to have gender equality. It’s sad that parents proudly talk about their son having many girlfriends. But when it comes to their daughter, they limit themselves to praising her dancing skills or music abilities. Well, the truth is that she is being introduced by different boys in their homes as their respective girlfriend. Just that she is good at lying in her own home. Let’s not make liars out of our daughters by making them feel that they lose their purity if they have a boy friend or if they fall in love. That’s a shame.
The concept of marriage, like religion, is dated. It can only make a world of 7 billion liars. After all, is it not so farcical to cry hoarse about feminism and women’s rights and then get dirtily legal to get moneys from your partner during a divorce? Be independent and live in your own merit and as per what the society can provide for all.
No wonder in the film PK, PK was so amused at why everyone was in general so secretive about sex, and yet gave a massive marriage party to announce to the world that tonight they would be having sex with each other. PK was never a movie about religion alone. It was about the shame of treating sex as a taboo, and about gender equality... Sadly, not many people realized this.
As more and more people stay without getting married (less than 50 percent of adults in USA now live with their spouse compared to 75 percent plus in 1960s), let’s cheer this generation of forward-thinking adults, boys and girls, who are slowly but steadily bringing about gender equality more than anything else. In any case, as the average age of healthy living for the next generation hurtles towards upwards of 100 years (and perhaps lot more soon) as per each and every research, to declare yourself the sole property of one person for 75 to 100 years of your life sounds really immature and absurd. For the first time in a public forum – apart from with my students – I touched upon this in the forum for equality that we organized recently in London. And am glad that it was well received.
To summarize, let’s cheer the new generation that can freely talk about intercourse without becoming liars and even sign an indemnity bond before having intercourse!
Down with the censors who on one hand enjoy making songs like Khada hai, khada hai, khada hai; Le lo, le lo mera; Ye maal gaadi, mujhe dhakka laga, and on the other hand try to get sanctimonious on the topic of intercourse. Shame.

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