A secular program named Naastikam 22 was filled with vibrant ideas regarding secularism and the destructive role of religion in our daily life. The seminar was conducted by the Kollam Chapter of Nastik Nation, an organisation dedicated to secularism and free-thought.
Is there a complete man? Likewise, is there a 100% woman on the planet?
Advocate Dileep Ismail ventured into the rather difficult terrain of human sexuality and gender identity. He pointed out that there are more than 3000 kinds of sexuality and gender identities and we all fall into any of them. The supreme court of India had itself observed that there were 24 gender types. But in real life, he said, there are more than thousands of variants of sexuality and gender identities. Ismail said that sex was determined at the time of birth looking at the genital, and they were grouped into three types, male, female and trans-gender. The problem with this rude classification, he said, was that it never respected the personality type and gender orientation the person belonged in. He concluded his speech with the suggestion that a modern society ought to take people only as persons regardless of their gender and sexual orientations which is more than what genital organs suggest.
How significant is it to have more mixed couples?
Shaji Kizhakedath presented the topic, “Multiple Meanings of Mixed Marriage” wherein he stressed the importance of having mixed marriage for fostering a secular society. He pointed out the side benefit of genetically differing couples having genetically stronger generations. He also shared the idea that the more mixed couples in a society, the more secular it becomes.
You can never grow out of your caste
S Ajayan delivered a lecture on the importance of destroying casteism to augment the secular framework. He opined that unlike religion, one cannot free himself or herself from the clutches of caste even if the person declared himself or herself that they didn’t want to belong to any caste. He said that caste is something with which society marks every person. He also said that one could change his religion but not caste. Even if a person converted into a new religion his caste remained the same. So a Dalit Hindu became a Dalit Christian once he converted into the latter.
Unsung Heroes of Renaissance
Kureeppuzha Vincent invited the attention of the audience to the sad state of overlooking the true heroes of Kerala renaissance. Kerala had social reformers who paved the way for many reformist sanyasis and activists in the years to come. They were not celebrated and given due importance they deserve till date. Arattupzha Velayudhapanikkar is one such among them, who started the very fire of social changes around at least 50 years before Sreenarayana Guru, who has been touted as the father of Kerala renaissance.
The reptile life and child abuse
Thressia N John, who is a psychologist by profession, came out with the deep subject of the Reptile Mind. She said that we could take our primitive mind/brain as the reptile mind/brain where essential biological functions take place, i.e., functions like making fight-or-flight decisions when an enemy is around, or having sex. Since reptiles were said to be one of the first forms of animals in evolutionary line-up, their brains are not developed and very tiny. But this under-developed reptile brain is part of the animal brain, and all of the animal kingdom keep it as part of the primary brain. Only human beings abuse its young ones sexually. Even the reptile mind is averse to have sex with an immature member. They won’t do it until and unless the other animal in their group is not only sexually mature but ready and prepared for it physically. In contrast, there are humans who commit this heinous crime on its minors, which makes them inferior even to the savage reptile mind.
At the end of the session senior atheist and activist Sreeni Pattathanam engaged in an open talk with Nagesh Charvakam, a senior activist who had initiated several secular events and introduced many young atheist speakers onto the stage for the first time. They discussed the topic Rationalism of Kerala in the Past and its Scope in the Future.
Shine Kumar coordinated the entire event, while Ajesh Kumar video-graphed it for the YouTube channel, Channel 13.8. All of the speeches will be available shortly on YouTube (Channel 13.8). The event was held at Jawahar Bala Bhavan, Kollam and the organizers thanked its officials at the venue for the facilities they arranged.
This report is written by Kannan Sivaram