Dr. Avijit Roy: Science vs. Religious Extremism

নীল রোদ্দুর's picture
Submitted by jawshan [Guest] on Sun, 29/03/2015 - 11:31pm
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We do not express ourselves anymore. We do not get a chance to share our knowledge anymore. We are not allowed to raise our voice anymore. We have been threatened by the religious extremist group of Bangladesh for our intellect, for our voice, for our efforts to spread knowledge throughout the society. Our pens are demanding justice for Dr. Avijit Roy. How loudly we shout for our right for freedom of speech, no one cares. How spontaneously we want to live on this earth, neither our government nor the religious extremist group values our life. The religious extremist group attacked on Dr. Humayun Azad on 27th February, 2005. When Dr. Humayun Azad was attacked by the Islamic terrorist, our senior generation and general citizens stayed silent. The government finished their duties by financing the medical cost of his treatment. No justice has come in ten years. Islamic terrorist continued to terrorize the Bangladeshis for ten years. On 26th February, 2015, exactly after ten years, another brutal killing has taken place, as if they are marking one decade of terrorization through another intellectual killing.

This time they have killed Dr. Avijit Roy, who possessed scientific wisdom, who spoke for rationalism, freedom of speech. These two events would be long marked in the history of Bangladesh. These are representative events showing how freedom of speech is threatened in Bangladesh. Numerous other events have taken places in between these two events. In 2013, they have stabbed Asif Mahiuddin and killed Rajib Haider. What was the role of Bangladesh government against such attacks? Bangladesh government arrested four bloggers Subrata Adhikari Shuvo, Mashiur Rahman Biplob, Russel Parvez, and Asif Mohiuddin (who was stabbed by the religious extremists earlier) for their questionable writing. Should we blame Islamic extremist group alone for such heinous activities?

Government has failed to bring Dr. Humayun Azad’s attackers to justice, Rajib Haider’s killers were bailed out, two years passed away, and still there is no justice for Rajib Haider. One month passed away after Dr. Avijit Roy’s brutal killing and still the police is saying that they have no clue why Dr. Avijit Roy has been murdered. Can the government of Bangladesh answer why repeatedly writers, bloggers, journalists, teachers are being attacked and killed in populous areas like ekushey book fair, or way back to their home? Who is more powerful in Bangladesh, Islamic terrorists or the Bangladesh government? If Islamic fundamentalist terrorists are not more powerful than the government, then why the government is failing to bring them to justice? Is the government saying through its silence, this events will continue to happen, and the government will continue to stay silent?

Dr. Avijit roy’s killing has an extra dimension which is different from other killing and attacks to intellectuals. He was vocal against religious terrorism, war criminals, like every other intellectuals who had been attacked and killed before. He was mostly a science writer, a person of science. He had dedicated his life in popularizing science in Bangladesh until his death. Anyone who is familiar with his writing knows the most of his writings were focused on science. His books, “বিশ্বাস ও বিজ্ঞান (Faith and Science)”, “ভালোবাসা কারে কয় (Science of Love)”, “অবিশ্বাসের দর্শন (Philosophy of Disbelief)”, “সমকামিতাঃ বৈজ্ঞানিক এবং সমাজ-মনস্তাত্ত্বিক অনুসন্ধান (Homosexuality: Scientific and Scoio-psychological Reserach) ”, “স্বতন্ত্র ভাবনাঃ মুক্তচিন্তা ও বুদ্ধির মুক্তি (Indipendent Thoughts: Free thinking and Freedom of Mind) ”, “মহাবিশ্বে প্রাণ ও বুদ্ধিমত্তার খোঁজে (Life and Intelligence in Universe)”, “আলো হাতে চলিয়াছে আঁধারের যাত্রী (Pilgrimage of Darkness Towards Light)”, “শূণ্য থেকে মহাবিশ্ব ( From Zero to Universe)”, “ভিক্টোরিয়া ওকাম্পো (Victoria Okampo)” represent the topic of his writing was mostly science. His genre was anti-establishment, whenever he spoke against any popular but wrong concepts, he tried to dissect that from the scientific point of view. He wanted to share the knowledge he earned throughout his education and research. He was a person who wanted to enlighten the population that gets a really slim chance of being truly educated. He worked for inspiring a generation about science and rationalism. The killing of Dr. Avijit Roy was not only a bodily attack, rather an attack on science mindedness, an attack on rationalism. And this is the first time they have killed a person of immense scientific wisdom. The question is why? Are Islamic extremists fearing, if the uneducated population learns to think rationally, scientifically, their chance of taking advantage of an illiterate population who easily get afraid of illogical threats spread under the name of religion will be diminished?

Dr. Avijit Roy was writing on evolution of life on earth. I have seen many of persons with limited knowledge, who might have their bachelor degree or not, but never studied evolution, they are trying to define evolution as a hypothesis only which has never been seriously considered as science. Such statements prove their limitation of knowledge. When we are getting sick, we visit doctors for medicines like antibiotics. They do not even know antibiotic industry is constantly facing challenges due to the evolution (mutation) of microorganisms like virus, bacteria living in our body. Today’s molecular biology, pharmacology, medical science will loose their base if they ignore the science of evolution. Dr. Avijit Roy fought against such misconceptions. Wasn’t it his fundamental right as a person?

“Do not take anything for granted” is the first lesson for a scientist. A Chinese scientist can say fearlessly, “I am a scientist, I can’t be religious.” American academics encourage their students to ask logical questions in every phase of academia. Koreans feel proud of teaching cultural values to their children instead of religion. All over the world, all scientists work in harmony just because they can go beyond their religious superstition. Dr. Avijit roy was a person of science and he asked logical questions about religion, in many cases he mentioned religious statements which are contradictory to modern day science. The problem is, religious people who think his statements are offending their religious sentiment have never tried to answer those questions logically. People are still trying to generalize his writing as humiliation of religion even after the brutal killing of Dr. Avijit Roy. When anyone says Dr. Avijit Roy humiliated religion, we, who are familiar with his writing, can clearly understand these persons have never read his writing. Islamic extremists killed Dr. Avijit roy, and the later group who are generalizing his writing as humiliation to religion without reading his books and blogs, are taking part in wrongfully defaming the person who had been horrendously killed by the terrorists. In other words, the later group is trying to justify heinous activities of those terrorists. Is that really bringing any good name for religion?

If we do not stand against such terrorism today, may be ten years later, our child can get murdered in the same way. Who will ensure our human rights? Who is in the charge of protecting freedom of speech? If government continue to stay silent, ignore the brutal killing of Dr. Avijit Roy, then in future, no one will approach to educate the society. No science writer will feel safe to write about science. No one will stand against the heinous activities of Islamic fundamentalist group. I am urging the Bangladesh Government to ensure justice for Dr. Avijit Roy and ensure us an environment where we can express our opinions without fear.


Comments

ইয়ামেন's picture

"Dr. Avijit Roy was writing on evolution of life on earth. I have seen many of persons with limited knowledge, who might have their bachelor degree or not, but never studied evolution, they are trying to define evolution as a hypothesis only which has never been seriously considered as science. Such statements prove their limitation of knowledge."

Unfortunately, this attitude and narrow minded viewpoint is not just restricted to people of limited education. I have met and heard people (Bangladeshi or otherwise) with doctorate and masters degrees from major universities in the US, people who are well established in their respective fields, say ignorant stuff like 'Darwin says we are descended from monkeys, what a silly notion, it is totally blasphemous!'. Goes to show education is not by itself a marker of being a progressive or free thinking.
Otherwise, this was a good read. Kudos to the writer. চলুক

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