Richard Dawkings to India
#1
Please Please bring him to India, if not for some conference than even just as a tourist atleast, anything will do.

Official visit likely might be organized by some University or some organization.

You guys seem like you have a well established functioning organization (thats what it seems to me) maybe you can try to have him tour India.
|God is Dead|
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#2
"You guys seem like you have a well established functioning organization (thats what it seems to me) maybe you can try to have him tour India".

!!!! I am glad you feel Nirmukta is a well established functioning organization with the gumption to get Dawkins to come visit India. But reality, my friend, is Nirmukta is far from it. we need your support though! please go through nirmukta.com for more about nirmukta as an organization.
Murthy

"Credulity kills" -- Carl Sagan
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#3
Murthy, Nirmukta (as a brand) is seeing exponential growth. Probably Ajita can quantify this. But surely one day nirmukta will be a freethinker's virtual address.
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#4
Yay! Surely, Dawkins would also love to visit India! It's great to see Nirmukta growing.
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#5
(16-May-2010, 11:34 PM)Varun Wrote: Please Please bring him to India, if not for some conference than even just as a tourist atleast, anything will do.

Official visit likely might be organized by some University or some organization.

You guys seem like you have a well established functioning organization (thats what it seems to me) maybe you can try to have him tour India.

Hi Varun.
Nirmukta the organisation is in the process of formation. I would not put a time frame on this, but hopefully it'll be sooner rather than later. Nirmukta Bangalore has taken a head start already and is the most organised. A few other cities in the south are seeing progress. But the other major metros are unfortunately behind schedule. I am in part responsible for the delay in New Delhi because of some unavoidale circumstances.

The process could be speeded up if people like you come forward to help, even if it is something simple online smile

But even your contribution on this forum is great in itself. Nirmukta would be nothing if not for the community and readers.

When Nirmukta the organisation is fully functional,several activities will be taken up, including inviting the likes of RD for discussions and debates.

Meanwhile, do spread the word and contribute in any way you can. Access the regional forums and tell us if in any way you can contribute. No contribution is too little.

Cheers!
Siddharth
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#6
Varun and others,

There are several logistic and monetary issues that would have to be addressed before undertaking something like this. But inviting Dawkins to India is definitely in the works. It's just a question of how soon. It could be as soon as a year from now, or as late as 2 or 3 years from now.

Dawkins' speaking fee is between 5000 and 10,000 dollars. In total, I very roughly estimate such an event to cost anywhere between 3 - 7 lakhs, conservatively. I have no doubt that someday soon we will be able to mobilize this kind of money for our activities. However, if we are to be able to justify such spending on a publicity event, instead of using the money to reduce the suffering of India's millions of poor, we must make sure that Dawkin's visit when it happens is not just a flashy gala affair. It must not just be an ego massage for India's freethinkers- the educated middle class rationalists. We must make sure that the event will be a force for good.

Basically what I am saying is that when we finally bring RD to India, we must make use of the media attention to build a large organization and put us on the map. If, as you say, 1% of India are atheists, we must make sure that at least half of those hear about us when RD arrives. I submit that we are not ready for this scale an operation right now. But we will, soon.

Until then, let's keep working towards it. We already have representation on the Dawkins website. Our Video and animation coordinator, Bala Bhaskar, has been communicating with them for a while. Nirmukta is considered a partner. They have published many of our articles. For example, see this article of mine that they reproduced. Bala has also been working with them on artistic projects. When the time comes, we hope to be ready. But in the meantime, there is a lot of activism we can do on our own.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#7
Thats how i came upon this site, through Bala's video and thread that he made on their discussion forum.

Swati in another thread gave the actual figure of 0.1% in 2001 census, lets see what 10 years changes, that can be an ideal opportunity to follow through on things you may have lined up if numbers show significant growth, and with India's population any any %-age growth is massive.

Also this argument of wasting money on things when that money can be spend on 400 million or so Indian poor, although emotional and quite fair in some regards, i really am not convinced by. Country and other people in it can not stop for those "at all costs" and forget about all other things.
Not really talking of your post, this spend money on poor people argument, just generally is used a lot to suppress other activities (or cast doubt over it) which seems useless to some people who don't have the same thought process or similar aspirations (basically just criticism for the sake of it). Like why have IPL better to give that money to poor, why have defense budgets give money to poor, etc etc
|God is Dead|
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#8
I do not favor "bringing-in" Richard Dawkins to India.
On the other hand, I would like to see that We should reach a position, when RD would like to "come and visit us"
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#9
True that, Dr. Bala. And hopefully there will be a Richard Dawkins in India who they would like to invite in the future. Though we already have reasoned activists such as Prof Nayak and others.
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#10
Varun,

You have misunderstood and are misrepresenting what I said. Please read Nirmukta's agenda. We are not an entertainment organization. There is a strong social-justice element to our cause. What I said was that we should be able to justify that kind of spending when there are so many poor people in our country. There is a difference. The main reason why we do what we do is to make a difference in people's lives- to create cultural change, with the goal of reducing the suffering caused by superstition and religion.

If we collect that much money for activities, it cannot be just for our amusement to bring Dawkins to India. We will have to justify it in terms of making a difference. In any case, that is a matter of concern for the board and the directors. The organization will be a non-profit organization and the money collected will be from donations. Just because others dismiss spending, like for example on the IPL, in favor of feeding the poor, it doesn't mean that any consideration of a greater cause is to be dismissed. Our agenda is not distinct from the realities on the ground. Creating social change comes first. This is not a false dichotomy. This is an integral part of our mission, one that specifically targets reducing suffering caused by superstition and religion. Nobody said anything about feeding the poor. That is a straw man. The argument is that inviting Dawkins should be justified properly (among the board of directors, in the interest of the organization) in terms of making an impact. The argument is that until we have the infrastructure to make that money and his visit count for something, it would be counter-productive and irresponsible.

So yes, if we are to raise that much money and consider spending it, we must take into account our moral responsibilities. We are not a sporting franchise operating solely for the entertainment of the general public. The IPL has an agenda. The military has an agenda. Nirmukta has an agenda. Ours includes working on making an actual impact in people's lives, changing our country for the better.

Finally, the reason you are seeing my resentment in this post is because of the flippant dismissal of my statements as "emotional". There is an emotional investment in social work. It is absolutely an emotional argument. To dismiss caring for suffering as "emotional", as though being emotional is a weakness, is morally repulsive.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#11
To add to what Ajita has said, I think you should read about the kind of work Prof Nayak has done over the years (search for his works on nirmukta.com). I, and many others are of the opinion that money is better spent doing the kind of work he does.

I think unless spending that much money on RD can ensure more donations and funds coming our way, only then it is worth spending to get him here. If it's good economics, then it's worth it. I hope this can be worked out when Nirmukta is strong enough. But we have to be careful.
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#12
Varun,

Notwithstanding the import of RD spear-heading the atheist movement to a global platform, I strongly suggest you attend a Prof. Nayak training program for a 'personal understanding' of the kind of work Nirmukta supports and promotes on ground.

However, an Indian University inviting RD to speak, may be a better way to approach this for now. Nirmukta could help in providing a platform to get in touch with RD, if the logistics are taken care of. Where are you based? and are you a University student? I think, we could bring this up with the board, if you would like to take the responsibility of convincing the University to invite RD.

P.S.: And pardon me for being so finicky, but do away with the 'g'; at this rate, we will never get the original Dawkins to India!
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