SONGSOPTOK: «Belief is simple acceptance that a proposition is true, without regard to reason(s) while faith is the acceptance of a proposition rather than an epistemological (evidence-based) reason.” Does this reflect your understanding of the two words? If so, why? If not, then how would you distinguish between the two?

ANINDA: As  you  have yourselves  cited in the question itself, evidence n reasoning n rationality  hardly plays any role  in most  cases.  Mostly, belief n faith are both based  on a firm conviction . Like  Theory n Hypothesis vis a vis Law.  To me, not much distinction exists  between the two aspects n both notify firmness in Confidence  & conviction & acceptance .  Point of distinction is , Faith has  more of blind stubbornness in so far as one does not / is  not allowed  to  question / reason before accepting.   Faith is far off  from Justified True Belief  concept.  A Faith  is ingrained to the core n ethos  of a human, &  such deep rooted is the  conviction that  one occasionally  goes blind & sarcastically  superstitious . Support to a cult, to a religious guru/God man / God woman/  to a political leader , a lingua leader , or  a  caste  leader are  frequently biased n based  on  complete  fanatic faith on him / her , without  going into logics n reasons therefor.

SONGSOPTOK: Each person can inherit, adopt or construct her own set of beliefs and faiths, or it is a combination of the two. How would you qualify your own personal set? Were your faiths and beliefs handed down to you by someone? Who? Or were they acquired? If so, how?

ANINDA: Faith, as I said, means unquestionable loyalty & dependence. If I am a Hindu, I shall not allow anybody to question any vices of Hinduism, whatever strong the reasons may be.  At the rise of Renaissance at Constantinople n beyond, so many lost their lives for questioning. Galileo was  subjugated , as he wanted to live, while Copernicus preferred  death. Jesus himself  got crucified. Catholics believe that divorce n abortion are bad & they illegalize the same, irrespective of whether that can cause death to a lady. These are all  mostly inherited .  There  are  exceptions too, where people go for religious conversions , these are self-constructed , based on the influence of muscle / money/ persona /cult powers.

My parents always voted for Congress , I prefer NOTA. There are 1st gen drifters into BJP/RSS  fold too, although most come from a family lineage. Reverse is true too, but to a lesser  extent.  I  had  developed a fanaticism in my college days against Congress  , going by their Emergency era atrocities. Later I realized , a  faith / belief  against Congress  may be bad.  Similarly, so many of my old  leftist friends have turned  to BJP today, as BJP holds a strong  influence among  CAs. But  my  own belief was so deep rooted  that I could not leave it.  May be  all the Nazis believed   Nazism  can  uproot all evils.  Today, Jews are killing  Palestinians day in n day out, because they have  that trust n belief .  Apartheid  system prevailed  in South Africa & colonies  of US n UK , officially n unofficially because of social acceptance. Unless  a large sect of ppl have faith n belief , u cannot  sustain such systems.

To come to my own persona, I acquired  my faith n belief  n conviction in  Socialism n communism, influenced by Com.  Sandipan Mitra & Com. Debashish. Gradual  reading into Das Capital, Comm Manifesto, Red Book etc ---I kept my ears n eyes open n wanted to stay afloat with my Rationalist Society . While denouncing terrorism, I could see & hear about   the confessed  errors n  the  Buddha/ Mahaveer/  Chaitanya like  sacrifices made  by leftist leaders , which, to me, were much more than  some of great Hindu leaders. I got convinced in d belief n faith that  Religions is an ultimate opium that obstructs free flow of reasons n reasoning in society . 

SONGSOPTOK: In your own personal sphere, do you consider worship as a religious act involving rites, rituals or other types of practices? Or is it related to something that transcends religion? Can you explain your position with some examples?

ANINDA:  In Bangladesh, in last 1 year , if I can recollect correctly, 9 atheists have been killed. My wife also got the threat of murder once she enters the country.  Some of my  Chittagong n Dhaka friends called up n said ( against my allegation of their  no response against such murders)  that  they never supported such killings but they are afraid of lives once  they openly protest. Personally I have belief  n faith in secularist  credential of  Hassina Apa. In Bengal , we  have  seen terrorism’s growth catalyzed  by Mamta Banerjee’s  out of way support  to Islamist fanatics.

I am an atheist , but my wife is a spiritual lady. She calls herself a non-religious human. I have hardly seen her visit  any temple. I like  visiting  the external structures  of  all temples n mosques n dargahs n churches, in case  photography is  not prohibited.  Just last week we went to Dharmasthala but did not go inside . I cannot justify the power of any Jyotirlinga, but , yes, I believe , there is a Universal system, as proclaimed  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi n Acharya Rajneesh , which govern us all. That system decides, what is to happen today / tomorrow / 1 year  down the line. I did not use the word Faith , ‘cause I strongly believe, any atheist, any theist & any agnostic shall suffer equal  fate, if an accident happens & any good is a coincidence / a miracle , no act of God.  I believe,  the words like ACT OF GOD/ IN THE NAME OF GOD / RELIGION N CASTE  CITATIONS IN  EMPLOYMENT/ ACADEMIC FORMS must  be banned.

SONGSOPTOK:  “Faith takes over where reason leaves off” – do you agree? Can you explain your point of view?

ANINDA:  I repeat  my  faith in the words of Karl Marx that  Religion is Opium. You see, my wife n daughter  do not take Beef , while I love. Again, I cannot relish rat/ snake/ spider/ lizard meat, because I am taught to.  In Guwahati, in my tobacco factory once a sudden strike broke out, because the  Assameese  caterer  , on 26.12.2000, served  the left out portions of chicken n mutton out of  25.12 night  party dinner, in the breakfast.  And Tiwary n Iyer Brahmins , on touching the plate, felt that they have lost  their  religions. In fact,  they said, they were not allowed to dream of  egg ( like Vaishnavas) . Muslims hate non Halal chicken n  pork.  Ask  anybody why, n no answer.  These food habits n prohibitions n untouchability syndromes are carried for generations.  Goth inspired killings &  high female feticide  are  driven by such faiths n beliefs.  There are neither reasons  nor  reasoning ability to  judge with clear mind n reject .  Similarly, the unhealthy n unhygienic  practice of putting on knife testicles n hymen  in Islam  go unchallenged on faith. On unknowingly  relishing beef  once, my  wife  had to vomit , when told. My mother  believes , shasthi , Ashtami n other brata rituals  shall do immense good to her hubby, her son , her entire family. Nobody has ever got  proof for the benefits of such fasts . My mom has visited both Puri n Kashi 4 times each, because her faith is, these shall lead  her  to salvation n no rebirth.  With her shallow knowledge of Ramkrishnaism, my mom only  believes in 1 sermon of Ramkrishna that  Faith makes  you meet  the goal n reasoning only distances you .

SONGSOPTOK: Did you ever face a conflict between your beliefs, reason and knowledge? How do you react to such situations?

ANINDA: The  biggest  challenge I face is to justify  that  despite best of efforts we do not get  results ;  despite best of  noble jobs, my dad in law is suffering from Cancer ;  then I have  to put up the theory of an invisible  aura of  forces that run n dictate the Universe. 

SONGSOPTOK: Are you a believer? What do you believe in?

ANINDA:  I am a believer in cause n action.  I believe that  whatever  has to happen shall happen , but  the 7 forces of nature are responsible , not  God. I believe, God as a sect, if  at all were there, may have lived as super humans either in  Siberia or in some other planets , but  they have nothing to do with  fire, earthquake, accident, flood , flash flood, or our ill fates/ good fates. I am an atheist like  Govind Pansare, Ananthmurthy , the slain Dr Kalaburgi & so many  leftist dignitaries . I believe  , it is religious mindset in the rich n the lumpens ( not middle class) that  concur  most evils .

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that it is essential to convince and convert others to your own system of beliefs and faiths? Why? Can you please describe the reasons for your answer?

ANINDA:  The Sikh Carnage, Delhi 1984, or  Gujarat 2002 could  not  do  any good to mankind.  Nor , the  mindless atrocities on Christians during Obama’s India visit.  First of all, I feel, nobody should have a  religion that  causes nothing but heartburn n division.   I am elated  that Assameese Muslims also voted  for BJP  in Assam, to tide over  the fear  of unprecedented Muslim influx. I feel, no  religion is good or bad. And Love Zihad &  Ghar wapasi  are  equally bad, like the  original conversions.  Parties must rise over Babri vs Ram Janambhoomi to address, why  SC/ST benefits  are not percolating to real neediest; why creamy  layers in SC/ST/OBC &  Jaats have enriched  unbelievably . The  real  reason for  conversion has been highest  atrocities on poor  low caste Hindus by  BarnaHindus, Jaats, Brahmins , Bhumihars, Thakurs n Rajputs.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that each individual has some form of faith or belief, whether related to religion or not? If yes, then what do you think are the main reasons?

ANINDA:  A  Yoga guru , whom I respect  for  teaching good Yoga practices , told the class last month that Brahmins are  born to be better , as they do not eat non veg.  I asked him , are Mangaloreans , so fascinated  with fish bad & if so, why are the Shettys so successful in Mumbai n elsewhere? I also asked him, why are Malayalees  successful ?  His  reply was restricted  to  Iyers , Iyengars & Raos as  higher scholars n achievers  , for  so many centuries , because they are sacred n veg eaters.  The reason for  ISIS ‘  growth /  Catholics’  growth in Africa &  even growth in atrocities / subjugations on  Shudra / low castes are   the age old  beliefs & faiths. And many are  caste  based.

When JNU n Kanhaiya  are made  into a political battlefield incl by GOI, 2 things work—a)  a Muslim , unless chattering  Bharat mata  is to be  charged of sedition & can be well  rusticated from India by any so called  Hindu group.  b) Anybody challenging basics on J&K  /  Indian democracy / Hinduism are  to be convicted . I feel,  these happen mostly on lingua, caste, religion.

ISIS  has legalized  women’s slavery , as it believes  in women’s subjugation as a natural phenomenon; Saudi has  legalized  wife  beating / wife bashing;  Talibans  have legalized systems  of torturing women ;  Mukhtar Mai n other instances of honor  killings  are shamefully rampant in Pak, for driving n other funny offences women get  flogging n other  such punishments  in Saudi n  lashes  for stocking wine, sex talking, pestering girls, insulting Islam , homosexuality, adultery, time spend with opposite sex members,  are  too common. In the name of revolution, Irani women  have to follow  strict Purdah rules of oppression. 

These  are all examples of Beliefs  under the aegis of Faith .

SONGSOPTOK: “A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.” said C.S. Lewis. Do you agree with this view? Or do you think that some form of worship is indispensable for humans? Why?

ANINDA: I feel, there can be very  few real gurus like Ramkrishna, Swamy Vivekananda or very few leaders like Gandhi, Mao, Marx, Lenin,Hochimin, Tolstoy. When God’s  existence is a hypothesis, why should one worship  any other persona as  a  superior?

SONGSOPTOK: You may or may not choose to answer this – but nevertheless we would like to know who do you worship? Why do you worship? How do you worship? And above all, in what way does it help you in your everyday life?

ANINDA:  I  have  great respect  for  Marx, Lenin , Mao &  their  staunch Indian followers , who sacrificed lives n happiness  in search of   bounties for poorest n wretched have nots n tribals . I believe in Senonomics –Dr Amartya Sen &  Dr Yusuf  as  proponents  of Welfare / HDI  based  economy .

ANINDA GHOSH: An ACA of 1990, a poet-writer-  strong BJP critic & a staunch believer in HDI based  economic upliftment and wealth creation of nations . Lives in Karnataka ( last 8 yrs)  &  loves art films , little mags, group theatres .

We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)


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