WORLD HUMANIST DAY
1.0 World Humanist Day is celebrated on 2tst June. In a sight adjustment for operational reasons, the Indian Humanist Union celebrated it on 20 June 2015 at a meeting at the New Fiends Club (East), New Delhi. The meeting was hosted by Prof Javed Husain Vice Chairman IHU. The subject of discussion was “Humanist Movement in India and Abroad - its Problems and Prospects.”
2.0 IHU Chairman Air Marshal Vir Narain, informed the House of the recent demise of the mother of Shri Anil Bhandari, Administrative Secretary IHU and as suggested by him the participants stood in two minutes silence as a mark of respect to her.
3.0 At the request of Prof Javed Husain Vice Chairman IHU, Shri Anas Khan recited a number of excellent poems in Hindi and Urdu
4.0 Air Marshal Vir Narain presented a Paper entitled “Looking Back on World Humanist Day”: A copy is enclosed in the Attachment. It would be seen that in conclusion he emphasized the need for the IHEU “to build and represent the global Humanist movement, to defend human rights and to promote humanist values world-wide.” as brought out in Amsterdam Declaration 2002. He also referred to humanism being against “authoritarianism” and “dogmatism” and advocated that Humanism must not take an “ anti- religious” stand but try to be a movement which will satisfy the emotional needs that traditional religions fulfilled but without becoming authoritarian and dogmatic in that process.
5.0 Shri Prakash Narain former Chairman IHU and Member Policy Commission of IHEU, quoted from the Objectives of the IHU to say that humanism basically had two core values that is love for fellow beings and adherence to the principle of free enquiry and belief. According to him, in the context of Humanism being an alternative to traditional religions, as enjoined at the founding of IHEU in1952, the crucial issue becomes the spirit of free enquiry and belief as most of the traditional religions believed in some “divinity” which in turn is an “unquestionable” entity.
3.0 Shri RC Mody observed that quite often humanist leaders complimented Buddhism as a traditional religion which believed in free enquiry and belief. This did not appear to be correct as Buddhism did believe in “re - incarnation”. Shri Prakash Narain said that many para-scientific phenomena like ‘telepathy’ were fully accepted now and there was growing evidence for post - demise temporary survival of memory, if not of reincarnation. He felt we had to keep an open mind on such issues. In any case, he felt, belief or disbelief in “re-incarnation’’ does not affect the question of “free enquiry” which was crucial to the concept of humanism.
4.0 Shri RK Jain observed that Jainism did believe in free enquiry [ This is perhaps true of the original philosophy of Jainism but in my search for non theistic songs for a humanist anthology, I found that in current Jain “Bhajans” the concept of “ Bhagwan” or “Divinity” seems to be omnipresent – Editor].
5.0 The question of future humanist activities came up. Air Marshal Vir Narain Chairman IHU said that the IHU was trying to bring about “attitudinal changes” through discussions, seminars, talks, HRG Meetings, publication of quarterly journal, participation in IHEU activities etc. More did not appear feasible till a younger membership profile emerged.
6.0 Prof Javed Husain Vice Chairman IHU said more than before is being done on the Internet and Social media but much more can be done. Shri Prakash Narain felt that we need not feel too discouraged as even the internal discussions like in Humanist Reading Group meetings and their coverage by the monthly IHU On Line News Letter, helped in bringing about “attitudinal” changes amongst humanists themselves. He agreed that Internet or social media needs greater participation and this would attract a younger membership and more “IHU Friends”. He lauded the efforts of Prof Javed Husain in is respect. Since many of IHU Members were not very Internet or Social Media proficient, it was decided that information coming on Internet regarding meetings of other rationalist or free thinking groups in Delhi, would be passed on by Prof Javed Husain by email to IHU Members in Delhi. Shri Prakash Narain agreed to send to Prof Javed Husain a list of IHU Members in Delhi and their email id’s which is readily available with him in the context of the monthly IHU On line News Letter.