The World Atheist Conference 2018 conducted on January 5th to 7th 2018 at Trichy (1)

The World Atheist Conference 2018 conducted on January 5th to 7th 2018 at Trichy (1)

WAC-3, Viduthalai front page

The World Atheist Conference 2018 conducted with tall claims: The World Atheist Conference 2018 (hereinafter mentioned as WAC) was conducted with tall claims made on January 5th to 7th 2016 at Trichy. It was commenced here with an emphasis on setting right in equalities in the society, quelling superstitions, and propagating rationalistic thinking. Titled ‘Atheism – Hope of Humanity’ and what not, the three-day program organised jointly by the Dravidar Kazhagam, Atheist Centre, Vijayawada and The Rationalists’ Forum witnessed delegates representing rationalist organisations in different parts of India and other countries, taking part in the inaugural and plenary sessions, and presenting their views on an array of topics that included atheism, religious fundamentalism, and medicine and atheism[1]. Presiding over, K. Veeramani, president, Dravidar Kazhagam, said atheism in India means much beyond non-belief in supernatural and religious rituals, and that the prime focus was on rectifying untouchability in the society perpetuated in the name of religion, and denial of education on the basis of birth[2].

WAC, Trichy - foreign delegates, Nadaswaram

Features of the Conference (as claimed by the organizers): As claimed by the organizers, Atheist – Humanists around the world participate in the conference, besides the leaders of various atheist, rationalist and humanist organizations from all the States of the country, Paper presentations by atheist scholars and activists followed by deep deliberations on the different perspectives of atheist philosophy, form the major part of the conference proceedings, Sharing of religion-free living culture in various countries / societies and churning up the substance on living free from the fear of god, enabling humanity to progress and peace, Revealing the success, in establishing the egalitarian society free from the belief of non existing ‘god’ through the services of organizations and movements by atheist philosophers and Documenting the pioneering role rendered by atheist movements in the East during the early historical period.

Garry McLelland-WAC, Trichy

The Rationalists’ Forum: The Rationalists’ Forum claims that it, “is a Humanist Movement founded by Periyar in 1971 and presently patronised by Dr. K. Veeramani, President, Dravidar Kazhagam. It is a unique movement, because of the composition of membership and the activities. People who are committed to Periyar ideology and employed in various organisations – government, public private co-operative have shouldered the responsibility of preaching and practicing rationalistic ideals”. The activities include organising meetings, seminars, science exhibition, superstition exposure show to develop scientific temper and humanism among the public. Many State and Central Ministers, Vice Chancellors of Universities, educationalists, officials who are at helm of affairs to-day were the earlier functionaries of The Rationalists’ Forum.

Elizebeth WAC trichy

The Organizers of the Atheist Conference[3]: The organizers have been:

  1. Dravidar Kazhagam (Tamil Nadu), Atheist Centre (Vijayawada) and
  2. The Rationalists’ Forum (Tamil Nadu) jointly organise World Atheist Conference 2018.

WAC is the ideological confluence of atheist, rationalist and humanist fraternity from the countries – England, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United States etc. and from all the States of India. WAC proceedings cover seminar and sittings with lecture delivery and paper presentation on the various dimensions of atheism , rationalism and humanism. Film show, video presentations, science exhibition, book fair are planned. A massive public procession with demonstrations exposing superstition is scheduled. A Souvenir containing essays, real stories, personal experiences of eminent persons on atheism and allied ideologies gets released on the occasion. Many leaders and persons of eminence from State and Central Governments, educationalists intellectuals participate in the proceedings.

WAC, Trichy - stage-1

Were foreign delegates conscious of the Dravidian atheism?: The foreign delegates attended the conference, but, what they spoke was not revealed by the organizers, the media and the participants:

  1. Gary McLelland[4], Chief Executive, International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), London[5], and
  2. Avinash Patil, Executive President, Maharashtra Andhrashraddha Nirmoolan Samithi, Pune, Maharashtra, were the other guest speakers.
  3. Elizabeth O’ Cassey[6], Director of Advocasy – IHEU, Brussels, Belgium, inaugurated an exhibition of books at the Atheist Book Centre. Rustam Singh, Atheist Alliance International, USA;
  4. Suba Veerapandian, General Secretary, Dravidian Tamil Federation; and
  5. Rajaratnam, Pro-Chancellor, Periyar Institute of Science and Technology (Deemed to be University), Vallam, Thanjavur also spoke.

Five books were released on the occasion: ‘Bhagavad Gita – Myth or Mirage,’ and ‘March of Atheism’ authored by Veeramani, Compilation of ‘Old Testament of Indian Atheism’ by Surendra Anjat, ‘Essays on Matters which Matter’ (A Rationalist’s Perception) by S. Rajaratnam, and Compilation of ‘Revolt’ published by Periyar in 1928 and 1929. It is evident that Compilation of ‘Old Testament of Indian Atheism’ by Surendra Anjat, and conspicuously, there was no book released about the position of atheism in Islam or existence of “Islamic atheists”. As happened in 2011, this year also, most of the foreign delegates came and attended did not know about DK, EVR, Dravidian atheism etc., as they talk about Humanism, human rights, etc.

WAC-3, women delegates from north

Inaugural session: During the inagural session, A. Raja, Sp. Suba Veerapandian, Gary McLelland, Elezabet O’Cassey, Avinash Patil and others spoke and thereafter, papers were presented. Ironically, A. Raja, former Union Minister of Telecommunication (who was in jail for 2G scam, came out on bail and acquitted by the Court recently), said he has been deriving inner strength from atheism. Ironically, the DK-ideologists talked as usual rhetoric with verbose without any new points. As usual, they made “stage-type” talk in Tamil and using few words and sentences in English to show off that it was an international conference. Ironically, the delegates came from Pujab, Maharastra, Andhrapradesh and Kartataka were talking in their mother tongue and Hindi when they conversed with each other. The same thing happened during the All India Atheist Conference held  at Periyar Tidal in May 2010, where, one invitee spoke in Hindi and it was translated by the DK ideologist. Now also, K. Veeramani during his speech accepted that the language bearer exists among the delegates coming from those states. Incidentally, their anti-Hindi stand gets exposed here, as with Tamil alone or any particular regional language alone, they cannot do anything.

© Vedaprakash

10-01-2018

WAC-3, Balwindern Barnala, before EVR statue

[1] The Hindu, Atheit conference gets under way, The Special Correspondent, TIRUCHI, JANUARY 06, 2018 00:00 IST; UPDATED: JANUARY 06, 2018 03:49 IST.

[2] http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/world-atheist-conference-gets-under-way/article22380406.ece

[3] http://www.worldatheistconference.com/

[4] Gary joined IHEU in February 2017. Before this he worked for the Humanist Society Scotland since 2013 as Head of Communications and Public Affairs. He has also previously served as a director of the European Humanist Federation based in Brussels, as well as a board member of the Scottish Joint Committee on Religious and Moral Education. Before working in Humanist campaigning, Gary worked for a global citizenship project at the Mercy Corps European headquarters in Edinburgh, and also in policy and service delivery in education and social work. He has a BSc (hons) in psychology, a diploma in childhood and youth studies and master’s in human rights law, in which he researched the approach of the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations’ approach to so-called ‘blasphemy laws’.

http://iheu.org/about/staff-and-representatives/

[5] International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), 39 Moreland Street
London EC1V 8BB, United Kingdom, Office telephone: +44 20 7490 8468; From within the UK: 020 7490 8468

[6] Elizabeth started as director of advocacy in January 2016, after two years heading the IHEU’s delegation to the UN in Geneva. She focuses her work on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, LGBT rights and the rights of women, particularly in relation to religious, traditional and cultural practices. Elizabeth manages IHEU advocacy work at a number of institutions, including at the UN in Geneva, New York and Paris, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and Africa Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. She is also a Vice Chair of the UN NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief (in Geneva), an International Patron for the Pink Triangle Trust and an International Advisor at the Raif Badawi Foundation. Elizabeth has a PhD in International Political Theory from the London School of Economics, where she was a Michael Leifer Scholar. She has spent time as a Global Justice fellow at Yale University, worked in various policy and advocacy positions in the UK and EU, and has also worked as a consultant on sexual and reproductive health and rights. She is based in Brussels.

http://iheu.org/about/staff-and-representatives/

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