Even as the Maharashtra police continued to grope in the dark for clues that would lead them to the killers of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, his children have declared that their father’s life mission will be resurrected with a month-long drive starting September 2.
Notwithstanding the blow dealt to the progressive movement in Maharashtra, activists associated with Dabholkar’s cause have resolved to carry on his task to promote scientific thinking and take forward the anti-superstition campaign of which he was a leading light.
Speaking at a convention here, Dabholkar's son Hamid and daughter Mukta said the drive envisages a vigorous interaction with college students in the state to make them an integral part of the reformist movement.
A solemn pledge to champion the cause of social reforms and promote rational thought was administered by eminent film and stage actor Shriram Lagoo at the event.
Lagoo, a close associate of the physician-turned-rationalist, fought back tears as activists of various progressive groups assembled on Thursday to discuss further course of the anti- superstition movement post-Dabholkar.
Among the hundreds who raised their hands and uttered the lines of pledge after Lagoo, were Dabholkar's son and daughter, who asserted that they would be associated with the movement as ordinary activists to a heartening applause from the meet also attended by scores of human rights activists.
Mukta, a social scientist, said "after the murder of my father (on August 20), I have observed that the voice of reason and rationalism has reached to the common citizen.
"There is no alternative to a strong organisational network which he had created, to carry on the mission of inculcating scientific temperament opposed to a retrograde social mindset."
She urged the State Government, which promulgated an anti-black magic ordinance a day after Dabholkar was shot dead here, to put in place a mechanism to support and implement the provisions of the law expected to be enacted in the winter session of the legislature.
The office of "Sadhana" magazine, of which Dabholkar was editor, earlier received an anonymous letter warning the activists of anti-superstition movement of dire consequences if they did not stop "hurting religious sentiments" of people.
The new editor of the publication, Vinod Shirsat, has handed over the letter to police.
The Andhashradha Nirmulan Samiti (ANS), the rationalist group founded by Dabholkar, routinely receives such letters aimed at scaring its workers who are determined to continue the progressive movement, he said.