Yesterday I talked a bit about Christopher Hitchens’ book about how religion poisons everything. It’s been rattling around in my head to say something about this Indian fellow who was assassinated a couple of weeks ago, and I guess it ties in to that.
If you missed it, and with American news it would have been easy, a man by the name of Narendra Dabholkar was shot in the chest and head as he was walking down the street by men on a motorcycle who were looking specifically for him. Why? He was a sort of Indian combination of Penn Jillete and Richard Dawkins. What he did was this: he went around finding “holy men” who gained followers by “performing miracles” and showed these followers how they were using common parlour tricks to bamboozle them. He introduced a bill several times to outlaw “black magic”, which was more or less an attempt to reign in charlatans, not some kind of atheist attempt to criminalize religion entirely. He was a rationalist who didn’t want to see his fellow Indians being taken advantage of, and I imagine wasn’t at all pleased with the sectarian violence.
It’s been reported that “Hindu nationalists” are the ones who shot him. The violence between Muslims and Hindus in India is something that doesn’t get a lot of air play in the US, except when it relates to tensions between Pakistan and India because of the nuclear aspect. But some pretty heinous sectarian shit happens in Indian. Like old women beaten in their homes, children set on fire, neighbors beating each other to death, and this time one of the sane people trying to make life safe for everyone gets shot in the face. I don’t want pictures of that kind of stuff on my blog, but it’s out there for anybody who wants to see if I’m talking shit or not.
But of course, India is a strategic ally of the United States, part of the “pivot” to the Pacific to contain Chinese influence, and where many firms are outsourcing to. It makes sense that nobody in power wants Americans to feel uncomfortable about what’s going on there.I don’t really have any commentary for any of this. It just has been on my mind since I read of Dabholkar’s murder, even more so following writing about the Hitchens book.