Extremist Harry Potter Fans Suspected In Death of Rationalist

Pune: In an incident that has shocked and disgusted anyone who is not a rabid bottom-feeding parasite, the well-known rationalist, Narendra Dabholkar, was shot dead by unidentified assailants on Tuesday morning this week. It is suspected that Dabholkar was killed for his life-long crusade against superstition, and for refusing to defer to fraudulent and exploitative practices prevalent in one of the world’s oldest faiths, Harry Potterism.

Dabholkar’s death has sparked outrage among people who contend that it is perhaps a wee bit insane to kill a 67-year-old man for pointing out that Wingardium Leviosa isn’t a real thing, to which the overall political response was, “Piss off, you aren’t a large enough votebank.”

However, Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan did say that the attackers were no less than terrorists, probably the kind who, when they’re not busy throwing perfectly good money at rocks that look like Harry Potter, go around telling people that their way of life is in danger from the followers of Frodo The False.

Reacting to Chavan’s statement, a spokesperson for the rationalists said, “As a sceptic, it is wonderful to receive support from a leader who, just last year, tried to solve the state’s water crisis by offering special prayers for rain. And according to the sugar barons in drought-hit areas, it worked.”

Meanwhile, the police are investigating all the pro-Harry outfits that regularly fought the late activist for his work against practices including casteism, a completely logical system of brutality based on social divisions created by a talking hat. One opponent of Dabholkar’s, an ideologue of the Salazar Sanstha, issued a statement terming his death as God’s wish. While this show of sensitivity may have put kitten murderers to shame, his followers insist that he is an inherently good person, pointing to the lightning-shaped mark on his forehead as proof.

The killing has once again brought into focus the rising intolerance of fundamentalist Harry Potter fans towards non-believers who refute socially acceptable oddities, like conjuring a lime-and-chilli patronus to ward off dementors, and are indifferent to July 31st, the birth anniversary of Lord Harry, celebrated with political one-upmanship and groping.

Fanatics insist that their position has been misunderstood. A member of the Vishwa Harry Potterheads (whose Twitter bio reads “Proud Potterhead. Proud Hogwartsian. Hot4Hagrid.”) had this to say:

“As an overwhelmingly large and strong majority, it is understandable that we feel ignored and sidelined, like the girl at the beginning of a fairness cream ad. We believe that no matter what their caste, creed or community, all Potter fans are equal. All we want is for the government to drop everything and rebuild the cupboard in which Harry Potter spent his formative years. Sure, there might be violence, but you can’t make an omelette without killing some Pratchett fans.”

However, assurances like these do little to win over rationalists who, extremists claim, want nothing more than to malign the good name of religion by harping on about so-called evils like wars, genocide, ignorance, the oppression of women, and those fugly people selling Nazar Suraksha Kavach.

In response, the sane people in this country – all six of them – cannot help but come back to the same point: A man devoted his life to eradicating superstition, despite getting death threats the way regular people get Dr. Batra spam. A man took two bullets to the head because he got in the way of someone peddling wizardry.

Dabholkar’s murder only strengthens the biggest superstition in India, one that afflicts millions and runs counter to all forms of logic and sanity, i.e. the notion that someday, somehow, things will get better. May Thor have mercy on us.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 25th Aug 2013.)

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28 responses to “Extremist Harry Potter Fans Suspected In Death of Rationalist

  1. I first thought that though genuine, this article would end up scoffing a great man. I am happy to say, I am wrong. It’s great to see how you skirted around the religious fanatism (using Thor, Potter, Frodo and Terry) …….
    A damn fine way not to end up in jail for hurting people’s sentiments…….

  2. Speechless. The most poignant way this issue has been put across.
    Respect man.

  3. How dare you joke about his death? Do you even know what Dabholkar did? and What he stood for?

    • Read the article again. He isn’t ridiculing Dabholkar’s death but religion and the superstitions attached to them. He is tactfully presenting his opinion by using references to Harry Potter lest he gets shut in jail for hurting someones’s religious sentiments and be branded the Devil’s spawn.

  4. I like your posts, Ashish, just not this one.
    It is a comedian’s prerogative to trivialize, but this is just written in very poor taste.

  5. This is brilliant. Kudos to the in your face subtlety. 😀

  6. This is a brilliant piece of writing. Potterheads all over India (or at least the ones that read your blog) commend you.

  7. not up to your usual standards. But then again, I could be a Potterhead in disguise.. Do the Jadu-tona Yagya for better results (y)

  8. Shambhavi Thatte

    Salazar sanstha ! lime and chilli patronus !! LOL. Hilarious and witty take.

  9. Great post Ashish. Thank you for hitting hard on those elements who are responsible for this utterly cruel and senseless act. I wonder where did all the teachings about love & peace go in such situations. Hopefully Maharashtra government passes the bill for which Narendraji was pushing for. He may be no more, but I personally know the movement his founded and his followers, his movement will grow multifold now, his followers will not let his sacrifice go in vain. Peace.

  10. Thank you for writing this. Every voice of sanity counts in these crazy times.

  11. This post was one of the most hard hitting satires ive read by an indian writer. Shakya, your anger is a gift.

  12. Caustic to the core!
    Much needed, indeed…

  13. Ashish, one of your better articles to date.
    The “mask” reminded me of Chetan Bhagat’s “Of Ducks and Crocodiles” (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-02-26/edit-page/28636824_1_ducks-villagers-lake)

  14. Wow… Just… Wow!

    *Wears hat*
    *Tips hat*

  15. *joins the slow clapping*

  16. Brilliant way of getting the absurdity of superstitious followers across using Potter euphemisms!

  17. You can joke all you want about rationalism,religion and superstition, but Harry Potter? not cool dude. Not cool

    • Put a bit MORE of your grey matter into this article. If you have a bit of an inkling of what happens in India, you’ll see that he ISN’T making fun of Potter. It’s a mere euphemism. Vishwa Harry Potterheads.

      Get it, do you? 😉 😀

  18. Kudos… hope people complaining read the piece again. Fanboyism of the masses is exactly how Religious fanaticism ought to be dealt with in a sane society…. of course the fanboys in India wield guns and are funded by governments….

  19. absolutely well crafted and disguised skillfully to get around the lazy millions who do nothing but wait for jadu tona.

  20. Does anyone else see how ironic it is that many sceptics are actually fans of Harry Potter and LOTR 😛

    • Not really. Skepticism only deals with reality, and most rational skeptics know that there’s no reason that fiction should be bound to natural laws. There’s no real reason that a skeptic should enjoy fantasy any less that any other person (even people like Stephen Fry enjoy fantasy, and some, like Isaac Asimov have even written some). That’s like saying that it’s ironic that someone who obeys the law likes mobster films.

  21. Great work. Reading some of the responses above saying the article is “in bad taste”, I was reminded of this meme I read – Your sarcasm’s so advanced, people think you are stupid.
    Obviously, a lot many people never got around to understand whose side were you on! That’s the fun part, I suppose.
    RIP Mr. Dabholkar.

  22. Maybe I’m a little late, but I’ll still like to thank you for writing this.
    And yeah, the principal of the potterheads is supposed to be gay , isn’t he?

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