Manaveeyam 2022 Edtion Makes an Eventful Day for Atheists in Thiruvananthapuram

One day seminar named Manaveeyam 22 organized by Nastik Nation witnesses an impressive number of participants. The 2022 edition of the program by Nastik Nation was called off thanks to concerns regarding unusual spreading of Omicron, a few months ago. As the situation changed the organizers bounced back into action and rolled off the pending program today at Joseph Mundassery Hall, at Pattom in Thiruvananthapuram in which reputed atheists in Kerala delivered speeches on varying subjects.

Sreeni Pattathanam, General Secretary of Bharatheeya Yukthivadi Sangham and Vice-chairman of Rationalist Association of India (RAI) inaugurated the session for speeches by delivering a presentation on Sahodaran Ayyappan, one of the greatest social reformers in Kerala and an outspoken atheist of his times. Sreeni Pattathanam pointed out that Sahodaran Ayyappan enacted many laws that paved the way for a rational Kerala when he was serving the State as a minister.

Sarathkumar shared with the audience his deep understanding of India’s cultural background and its impact on day to day life of the people cutting across the caste system. His speech was close observation of how casteism made the population live in stone age mentality where nobody was able to make even a faint voice of complaint.  

Dr U Nandakumar made a very remarkable presenation about the post-Covid health issues in addition to the importance of being vaccinated which can hold back new waves of the pandemic, as it was very evident in the case Omicron, which did not lead to a deadly healthcare hurdle in India and elsewhere due solely to vaccination.

Pratheesh B made a wonderful talk on subjects ranging from Islamophobia at the cost of atheism and misuse of even government facilities like Kerala Transport Corporation for the benefit of religion and its irrational practices. He shared his experience being a vocal atheist and rationalist, which were treated by the public with utmost contempt.

Mohammed Khan, one of the senior most activist atheists, who initiated for the first time the new-gen free-thought seminar series in Kerala a few years ago, presented his views on hijab and the High Court verdict against the dress. He said that the wearer should be the only rightful person to remove and throw it away. He continued that atheists had a wider role to play to make one remove it on her own, by propagating freethought and making people rethink about the baseless and unreasonable faiths. He narrated the danger of allowing Hindu extremists, or anyone from outside, to strip away the hijab on a muslim woman or girl.

Nagesh Charvakam presented the subject Social Mind and Religious Sentiments. He emphasised the importance of being able to be a human, taking care to avoid the pitfalls set by social myths and customs. He said that customs authored by religion were very hard to go away on its own, even by introducing laws to that effect. He pointed out the laws pertaining to women equality rights and what happened at Sabarimala when the Supreme court verdict had declared that women could be allowed into the temple.

The panel discussion that was sandwiched between the presentations, was a stand up program on its own terms, where the participants shared their feelings and experiences they went through being an atheist, an unwelcome label for most people in our society. Ms Preethi elaborated the story of how her own son was ill-treated at many schools he attended for having come from an atheist family. Other participents like Shaji Kizhakedathu, Anisha, Kalliyoor Prasannaraj, Babu A R, Krishnakumari and Reji Shylaj impressed and engaged the audience with sharing their unusual experiences as a ‘practising’ atheist.

Nastik Nation is an organisation affiliated to Atheist Alliance International, headquartered in the USA. Atheist Alliance International has been recognized by international organisations like the United Nations and Council of Europe by virtue of its flagship program, Atheist Support Network.


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