Hyderabad Rationalist Conference was held on 13 th September 2009 at Press Club, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Mr Ravipudi Venkatadri, the veteran humanist at the age of 88 presided over the conference-inaugual session. He traced the brief history of Indian Rationalist movement. He remembered how Mr. Paranjpe, Mr. Lokhandwala, Mr. Abraham Solomon, S. Ramanathan, Mr. Avula Gopalakrishna Murthy, Mr. N.K. Acharya, Dr. N. Innaiah, Mr. Suryanarayana did the pioneering work of Rationalist Association while persons like Justice Avula Sambasivarao helped to run the Indian Rationalist journal. Mr. Venkatadri opined that the rationalist movement is an ongoing dynamic idea which is slowly and steadily transforming the society.
Mr. C.L.N. Gandhi, chairman of Hyderabad Rationalist Association welcomed the conference and explained the purpose of the 5th annual conference.
The key note speech was delivered by Dr N. Innaiah, Chairman, Center for Inquiry, India. He wanted the enactment of legislation to protect children from religious abuse from an early stage. He strongly pleaded that no religious mark should be dubbed on the child. They must be free to develop without any religious superstition and blind belief. Let them grow as free citizens and choose their religion or refuse religion when they obtain voting age. Dr. N. Innaiah condemned the attitude of Dalai Lama who is spreading the reincarnation ideas which are scientifically not verifiable. Just as child marriages are banned through legislative act, the same way, dubbing children with religious marks should also be banned. Parents should not treat religion as a hereditary right and force their offspring into their belief systems and religions. Parents are perpetuating religions and thus perpetuating the mental backwardness among their children. The early religious prejudices keep influencing them even when they become scientists, technologists and social scientists. He cited the example of former President of India Mr. Kalam who might have prostrated before cult baba Satya Sai and Matha Amritanand mai, due to his childhood habit of believing in divine powers. Such practices get into our subconscious and make us behave in a certain manner without questioning the logic behind them.
Mr. G. Veeranna, the vice president of Hyderabad Rationalist Association traced the evolution of the universe and explained how the humans developed rational thought.
Mr. Kurra Hanumantharao, secretary, Indain Rationalist Association defined the secular society and remembered with regret Late S. Radhakrishnan’s method of explaining political philosophy and administration through religious explanations.
Mr. P.S.R. Raju, president of Rationalist Association, Andhra Pradesh, gave a scathing criticism of people’s religious attitude towards society and humankind.
Mr. M. Satyanarayana, managing editor of Hetuvadi monthly explained the process of Evolution and condemned the creationist theory.
There was also, an exhibition of humanist literature in the conference.
The new executive body of the Rationalist Association was elected with Mr. C.L.N. Gandhi as President and Mr. M. Chandrasekhar as Secretary, Mr. G. Veeranna as Vice President and Mr. Rajeswar as Treasurer.
Around 100 delegates participated in the day long conference.