George Binning, a 25-year-old a rationalism activist from the UK, is in town to get information about black magic and superstitions among Indians in general and Maharashtrians in particular. Binning has formally declared his support to the Andhashradda Nirmulan Samiti (ANS) in its endeavour to get the long-pending Anti-Superstition Bill passed.

Let there be light: Rationalism activist from UK George Binning. 
Pic/Ishan Ghosh 

The Winter Session of the Legislative Assembly is between December 12 and 24 in Nagpur. While no hunger strike or any other agitation is planned if the bill is not passed in the session, there remains strong resentment among ANS activists over the bill not having been passed yet.

Binning met ANS executive president Dr Narendra Dabholkar, state secretary Milind Deshmukh and legal consultant Manisha Mahajan to discuss the issue. "Maharashtra is really ahead of times as there is no separate law or act for superstition England," he said. 

Binning said there was no requirement for such a law in his country as incidents involving superstitious practices were low compared to India. Binning, who works for a newspaper, Independent Fortean, said this was his first visit to the country and the city. "I am delighted to know that an anti-superstition movement does take place in the city and is run by intellectuals," he said.

Booklet on draft
The ANS has prepared a special booklet on the new draft of the Anti-Superstition Bill and distributed it to all MLAs and MLCs.  "We are sure that the booklet may give all answers to queries posed by the MLAs and MLCs during the session," said Deshmukh.

The ANS launched its movement against superstition a decade ago. "There is a ray of hope after a long battle of 16 years to get the bill passed. I have got a formal okay from Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Social Justice Minister Shivajirao Moghe and Cultural Minister Harshawardhan Patil," Dabholkar said. The draft of the bill was opposed by the BJP and the Shiv Sena in the past. "There should be strong political will to pass the bill," Deshmukh said.