Book Review The Case for Reason: Volume One: Understanding the Anti-superstition Movement

The Case for Reason: Volume One: Understanding the Anti-superstition Movement

“Knowledge begets power, an important material benefit, but not every form of knowledge can be linked with such gains. Again, it’s not possible for everyone to acquire knowledge in every field; yet everyone is capable of developing the keen sight that is essential for it. Nurturing a scientific outlook along with acquiring knowledge helps develop the capacity to accurately analyse all that takes place in our personal life as well as what happens around us. When one rationally analyses the incidents and events of one’s personal as well as social life, one is relieved of the unwarranted fear and mental agony caused by it. Rational analysis will prevent a person from drawing wrong inferences in a given situation.”

Why I Picked This Book?

I remember first hearing about Narendra Dabholkar through news channels. When Govind Pansare and later Gauri Lankesh was shot dead,  there was coverage about Dabholkar as well, citing how he was was shot dead because of his rationalist views against superstitions and against blind following of  many rituals. It is then I thought of reading about him and his work. 

The Book

The Case for Reason: Volume One: Understanding the Anti-superstition Movement- this book as the name suggests talks about the various superstitions that exists in our society and the various challenges/backlash faced by Dabholkar and his organisation.

The book broadly covers the superstitions and pseudo science prevalent in the society and the role of ANiS (Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti or Committee for the Eradication of Superstetion). It provides various real life examples of blind faith and superstitions from the state of Maharashtra and how the organisation challenged these superstitions. 

The book talks about various practices which are termed as scientific and confronted them with logic and rationality. Like Astrology and Vastushastra which is believed to be a science by many people in India. Dabholkar and ANiS has strongly refutes these claims although, it is considered a science even by educated people in our country. This is what Dabholkar says about Astrology-

“The argument that all people, educated and uneduated, resort to astrology for help and solace, and therefore it must hold some truths, is irrational.  many people do many things. But that does not mean their actions are right or scientific. The criteria for whether a certain thing is scientific and rational are identical everywhere in the world. Astrology will be recognised as a science only when it fulfills all those criteria. At present, it is far from being a science.”

The book cites ample examples of cases of superstitions which are challenged by ANiS, and where ANis asked for a debate on the veracity of the claims made by various people including the followers of a cult, a God man or staunch believers of a  prevalent religious belief.

Due to this challenge to the long held beliefs of people, Dabholkar and ANiS are often criticised as anti-Hindu. They even face threats and backlash for meddling and hurting people’s religious sentiments. They are also  accused by some that they are mum against Brahminial Rituals and only target people from Dalit, Bahujan and minority community. Dabholkar answers to this allegation as well.

All in all the book provides a broad overview of the superstitions surrounding us and how by having a rational mind and scientific temperament helps in building a progressive society and country.

About The Author and Translator

Dr Narendra Dabholkar was a trained medical doctor. After practicing medicine for few years he decided to close his dispensary and devote his full time to social work. He was founder president of the Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (ANiS) (Committee for the Eradication of Blind Faith). He was mysteriously shot dead in 2013.He has written twelve books about the anti-superstition movement.

Suman Oak was a Professor of Education in SNDT WOMEN’S UNIVERSITY.

Our Verdict

A very good read to
-Understand the importance of Rational and scientific thinking
-Understand superstitions are regressive
-Know, through various examples how common people are exploited due to these superstitions.


To get your own copy click on the link below.

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