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Man With a Mission
Indian teaches science to locals to overcome superstitions
Munish Nagar (munish1107)     Print Article 
Published 2006-05-08 14:08 (KST)   
He has the capability to baffle one's mind; the power to walk on fire; and the eyes of a hawk stalking its prey. Meet retired science teacher Megh Raj Mitter.

Megh Raj Mitter
©2006 Tarksheel
This man has a mission. Indian society is still gripped with beliefs in the superstitious, miracles, and spirits. Mitter wants to educate the masses about how to answer questions concerning life's mysteries through the use of science.

In the early 1980s, Mitter read a book named Begone Godman by Dr. Abrahim Kovoor, who researched the existence of miracles, superstitions, and spirits.

Mitter gave this book to his friend, who suggested it should be translated into the Punjabi language. Many Indians are capable of reading English, but Mitter's friend explained that his wife was caught up in the religious superstitions of a saint, giving him money when he asked. He wanted his wife to read the book.

"Then the idea of starting something struck into my mind. I could teach my fellow countrymen to not indulge in these practices," Mitter said.

In 1984, Mitter formed a group to study science, later named the Tarksheel Society Bharat (India). The year in which the society was formed was a time of militancy in the Punjab state of India. It was highly dangerous to perform on the streets in the state at this time. But pure gold doesn't shrink from fire, and this man kept his spirits high and started his mission. Things didn't go very smoothly, as Mitter received 29 threatening letters.

Mitter was gradually able to help people through lessons of science. Now the organization has 2,000 members in north India who are divided into teams and work in the villages, towns and larger cities. The society has jugglers, magicians and psychiatrists. The members educate people about what is behind the curtain of evil superstitious practices.

Member of Tarksheel walking on fire
©2006 Tarksheel
"Everyone can walk on fire, but nobody knows the scientific reason. There is a time in which fire takes place to burn something and the time it takes is 0.3 seconds. When we perform the fire walking, our main aim is to walk smoothly on the firewood, and when we walk, our feet move forward within the period of 0.3 seconds," Mitter said.

To propagate these things among the people, he started his publications and two Punjabi vernacular magazines, Vigyanjot or "Scientific Light," which has 5,000 subscribers, and Tarksheel, which claims to have 15,000 copies in circulation. The group has its own Web site run by Mitter's elder son, Amit Mitter. It is the first online vernacular library of the Punjab state.

"Every incident has a scientific reason. Science is everywhere. We teach people that logical and scientific thinking should be present in their minds so that they should think scientifically," Mitter said.

The group also organizes events, exhibitions, and conferences to challenge the so-called "supernatural things" from time to time.

Religious organizations try to attack the members on occasion, but their mission continues.

The organization claims to have solved more then 50,000 cases of superstitions, spirits, and false saints. When asked about the authenticity of the group, Mitter tells them about the challenge. The organization puts up a cash prize of Rs.2 million (US$45,000) for anyone who can stump the organization. But before challenging the organization, the person must deposit a security amount of Rs.5,000 ($112). Since 1984, nobody has claimed the award.

Mitter visiting China
©2006 Tarksheel
A saint told the organization that he has the supernatural power to bring rain. He was given three chances to prove it, but failed and his deposit was forfeited.

The society also has branches in America, England, New Zealand, and Canada. Even the Canadian branch has put up the prize of CN$1 million ($900,000) to beat the challenges, but nobody has claimed the amount yet.

Mitter and his members were invited by China to show their skills. Mitter was also taped by China Central Television, which broadcasted his three shows of 45 minutes each.

The freedom fighters of India are his source of inspiration because, according to him, they sacrificed their lives for the country. The Web site of the organization contains online books on the lives of the freedom fighters.

"Where there is will, there is a way." This suits Mitter well because he started his movement in the crucial period when other movements were being put down by terrorists. The movement emerged from the flames to set social evils on fire and destroy them. Mitter proved that if we are determined, then no obstacle can block our way.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Munish Nagar

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