I’ve been asked and am honored to have accepted the position of International Editor for Nastik Nation, India’s online forum for atheism and free-thought. Why the name ‘Nastik Nation’? As the website explains, “The word nastik generally stands for an atheist in the main languages of the Indian peninsula, except in Tamil. In Tamil it is naathigam, that too is a word derived from the same Sanskrit word nastik.”
The website publishes a monthly newsletter which can be accessed from their website which, in addition to being very well written, is also didactic for the secular community. The issues facing the secular movements in both India and the United States are fundamentally the same though the particulars differ. The insights that our secular brothers and sisters in India provide on these issues are invaluable. More importantly, there is an instant connection you feel between yourself and the writer; the power of ideas to unite groups and cultures moves from the theoretical to the visceral. Seeing the ideas we both espouse at work changing the political, legal and cultural landscape in both milieus shows the power these ideas have. The power of these enlightenment ideas are still as strong as the day they were born and this gives me hope for future generations.
Most importantly, I will be able to have a hand in helping to bring attention to the work that is being done and difficulties our brothers and sisters are facing because of the ideas they hold. These difficulties are far more strenuous than anything we face here in the States and as such each and every one of these brave men and women are inspirations to us all. A quick Google search will turn up articles such as this which illustrate the risks of being charged with blasphemy, or as I like to call it, thought-crime, by the religious fanatics. I am constantly inspired by the bravery of the people who make up the Indian secular movement and am honored to be working with them.