Published: 04th December 2018
Their raison d’être: In Defense of Reason is a forum in Hyderabad which organises talks on contemporary topics
In Defense of Reason has around nine core members and together they organise various activities. There are discussion forums, where people get together to discuss various topics
It was around two years back, the time when Narendra Dabholkar from Maharashtra and MM Kalburgi from Karnataka were assassinated and a communal atmosphere permeated across the country. Lunching and caste-based atrocities were on the rise and so was fake news. It was against this background that Parag Verma and a few friends got together to form a forum, In Defense of Reason. "We defend all kinds of critical thinking, in-depth studies and aim to develop a scientific attitude among all," says Verma who is from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh.
They have previously organised talks around Bhagat Singh, they want to do that again. They also want to do something on the cultural and literary front
In lieu of this, In Defense of Reason has around nine core members and together they organise various activities. There are discussion forums, where people get together to discuss various topics. Then there is a study circle, where they take up one book and discuss it at length and a night school too, for those who can't attend their session in the day. They held one recently on caste, its origin and evolution. There is adda baazi where there are no speakers, participants just sit in a group and talk. And because cinema as a medium cannot be ignored, they also screen progressive cinema under their other forum, Hyderabad Cinephiles.
Full house: Participants during one of In Defense of Reason's sessions | (Pic: In Defense of Reason)
Held mostly at Lamakaan, all their activities are conducted in a democratic manner. "Everyone understands that this is an open space and all views are heard. No one misbehaves and all arguments and counter arguments are heard," says Verma. They have conducted around 25 talks till date ranging from topics like demonetisation, idealism and materialism and more. "Anything and everything that concerns the masses is discussed at our forum, we want to mobilise more and more people to enable a social change," says Verma who has been working in the public sector in Hyderabad for the past nine years. So when does he reckon this change will come? "No one can predict this but there are two things, subjective forces and objective condition. When objective conditions like economic disparity and exploitation are increasing, we need to keep the subjective forces ready. We need to make the masses conscious," says the 35-year-old.
In Defense of Reason has around 25 volunteers who help out with organising events
So what would he say about the upcoming elections in Telangana? "I don't think any party is working for the benefit of the people. Even during the bifurcation, a lot of promises were made and we were cheated and they will continue to cheat us," says a dismal Verma. So through a forum like this, they want to take this cause forward and sensitise more and more people, especially the youth.
For more on them, click on facebook.com/InDefenseOfReason