Dabholkar’s legacy

Print edition : October 04, 2013

Sugat Dabholkar

For Sugat Dabholkar, the murder of his grand-uncle, the rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was a rude shock. He had kindled his passion to pursue science education in order to spread rationalist ideals. In Chennai, where he is involved in “science education”, he shared with Frontline his memories about Narendra Dabholkar:

“He was my grandfather’s youngest brother. We are a close-knit family. He wielded a strong influence on me all along. Many of the important decisions with regard to my education and career were taken on his guidance. I left a lucrative corporate job to take up scientific education in Chennai two months back, mainly to contribute to the rationalist movement here.

“My grand-uncle was a true reformist and also a man of principles. He was a calm and composed person, always sporting a smile. He was known for his sharp and compelling arguments and was a staunch believer in non-violence. I had never seen him losing his temper. He never spoke ill of those who differed with his views. He was open to dialogue.

“Most of our discussions took place on travel from Satara to Pune either in a bus or in a car, or at home. He would always talk about the movement and think about ways to strengthen it. When I was studying biology, he would ask me about the developments in the field of genetics and evolution. When I was studying management, our discussion would revolve around organisational-level initiatives. Our last conversation was about online platforms and the role they could play in spreading the message of scientific temper.

“We in the family are really overwhelmed by the reactions [to the murder] and condolences that poured in from across the world. It is an attempt to silence the voice of reason. But we will not stop here. We will propagate his rational principles and the spirit of inquiry. We should support the legal reforms to strengthen the efforts to eradicate exploitative practices. That will be the real tribute to him.”

As told to R. Ilangovan

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