- Basava Premanand
Basava Premanand is an eminent skeptic and rationalist from
Tamil Nadu, India.
Premanand was born in the year 1930 in
Kozhikode, Kerala. His parents were followers of the Theosophicalmovement.
In the 1940s, Premanand quit school to take part in
Quit India Movement. With that ended his traditional schooling. During the next 7 years he spent in newly started Sri-Steila Gurukula, where the Shantiniketan-Wardha brand of education was imparted. .cite news | url=http://www.vichar.nic.in/allinthegame/individual_30.asp| title=National Awardees for Science Popularisation |publisher=NIC |accessdate = 2008-05-16]
Around 1975 Premanand started publicly denouncing the Indian godman,
Sathya Sai Baba, and now devotes his life to expose the godmen and paranormalphenomena.cite news | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/this_world/3813469.stm | title=Sai Baba: God-man or con man? |publisher= BBC| date= 2004-06-17 | first=Tanya | last=Datta | accessdate = 2007-02-24] Premanand uses his skills as an amateur magician to give a natural explanation of the alleged miracles of gurus and godmen. "Guru Busters" [http://www.eagletv.co.uk/home/guru.htm] , the documentary by the British film maker Robert Eagle, features Premanand displaying and teaching many supposedly supernatural stunts such as levitation, flesh piercing and live burials.
Since 1976 his most famous target is
Sathya Sai Baba. Premanand was arrested in 1986 by the police for marching, together with 500 volunteers towards Puttaparthi, the town where the main ashramof the guru is located. In the same year he sued Sathya Sai Baba for violation of the Gold Control Actfor Sathya Sai Baba's materializations of gold objects. The case was dismissed, but Premanand appealed on the ground that spiritual power is not a defence recognised in law.
He took active part in "Vigyan Yatra" (Rally for Science) organised by Maharashtra Lok Vidnyan in 1982 to popularise science and scientific thinking as well as in the Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha held in 1987 espousing the same cause.
He later founded the "
Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations", which tours the villages of Indiato educate people by debunking gurus and fakirs whom he considers frauds or self deceived. He also is the convener of Indian CSICOP, a Tamil Nadubased skeptic group which is an affiliate of CSICOP. He is the owner-publisher-editor of the monthly magazine, The Indian Skeptic, which "publishes articles on the scientific investigation of apparently paranormal occurrences with a special emphasis on cases from India".
BBCas India's leading guru buster, Basava Premanand has "been honoured by the government with its highest award for the promotion of scientific values among the public." [ "The Telegraph", Calcutta: Sunday, November 21, 2004] ,
The Challenge of Basava Premanand
Abraham Kovooroffered an award of INR 100,000 for anyone who could demonstrate supernatural or miraculous powers under fool-proof and fraud-proof conditions. After the death of Abraham Kovoor in 1978, Basava Premanand continued his challenge by offering INR 100,000 to any person who would demonstrate any psychic, supernatural of paranormal ability of any kind under satisfactory observing conditions. The challenge remains uncontested.
Books/Pamphlets authored by Premanand
#"Science versus Miracles"
#"Lure of Miracles"
#"The Storm of Godmen, God and Diamond Smuggling"
#"Satya Sai Greed"
#"Satya Sai Baba & Gold Control Act"
#"Satya Sai Baba & Kerala Land Reforms Act"
#"United Front - FIRA 2nd National Conference"
#"Murders in Sai Baba's Bedroom"
# "A. T. Kovoor Octogenary Souvenir"
# "Saibabayude Kalikal" Translated by Johnson Eyeroor(http://www.hypnotradition.com/director.html)
# "Saidasikal Devadasikal"
# "Pinthirippanmarude Masterplan"
List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal
Prabir Ghosh, West Bengal rationalist and his $50,000 challenge against Godmen and astrologers
* [http://www.indiansceptic.in/ Indian Skeptic official Website]
** [http://www.indian-skeptic.org/html/svm1.htm More about Premanand ]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/itsmystory_280803.shtml BBC radio documentary about Premanand (in RealAudio format)]
* [http://www.csicop.org/si/2003-01/dont-try-this.html Skeptical Enquirer article on B.Premanand]
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