Sanal Edamaruku

Sanal Edamaruku

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Category: Philosophy

Sanal Edamaruku Profile

  • Name:
  • Sanal Edamaruku
  • Born:
  • May 26, 1955
  • Father:
  • Joseph Edamaruku
  • Education:
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University

Sanal Edamaruku Biography

Sanal Edamaruku is the founder and president of Rationalist International. He is also the president of Indian Rationalist Association and the editor of the internet publication Rationalist International.


He was born in the year 1955 in Thodupuzha in Kerala. His parents are Joseph and Solly Edamaruku. His father was a veteran rationalist leader. He studied Political Science in the University of Kerala and obtained his Master’s Degree there. He received M. Phil degree from the Department of South Asian Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi in International Studies. He also got his diploma in Journalism.


He started to work for the Afro-Asian Rural Reconstruction Organization when he was writing his thesis for his doctorate. In 1982 he quit his job and started to concentrate on the Indian Rationalist Association. He is actively participating in the association from the age of 15. He is the General Secretary of the IRA from 1983. He is the editor of the Modern Freethinker that propagates the ideals of IRA.


He has written many books and published articles that speak about the rationalistic thoughts and anti-superstition. He has investigated to bring out many frauds about mystics and godmen and conducted campaigns against superstitious beliefs in Indian villages. He attracted the media through his works. A documentary film Guru Busters was produced to feature the works for Edamaruku and his campaigners and to expose the supernatural stunts. Lectures were delivered in various countries including US and many European countries. Three International Rationalist Conferences were held in 1995, 2000 and 2002.


He appeared on a panel TV show on 3rd March 2008. In this show he challenged a Tantrik to kill him by using magic. After chanting mantras on live India TV the Tantrik gave up saying that Edamaruku was under the protection of a powerful god. He responded saying that he was an atheist.


In March 2012, Edamaruku investigated a report that a crucifix at Our Lady of Velankanni church in Mumbai was dripping water from the feet. This incident, though not claimed by the Catholic Church as a miracle, was believed by many to be one. Research by Edamaruku indicated that the dripping was caused by capillary action from a clogged drain.


In April 2012 the Catholic Secular Forum in Mumbai filed a complaint under Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code in several police stations around the city. Enacted in 1927, section 295A says:


Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of [citizens of India], [by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise], insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to [three years], or with fine, or with both.

The Archbishop of Mumbai asked Edamaruku to apologise in exchange for dropping the charges, while the All India Catholic Union said the law was being applied incorrectly. Colin Gonsalves, the founder of the India Center for Human Rights and Law, stated his opinion that no criminal offence had been committed. There were further complaints that the law was being misused to suppress free speech. Others spoke in his defense publicly, such as Vishal Dadlani, and James Randi.


On 31 July 2012 Edamaruku moved to Finland to avoid the possibility of indefinite jail time. When fellow campaigner Narendra Dabholkar was murdered in 2013, Edamaruku felt returning could put his life in peril. Edamaruku said, "I would do it again. Because any miracle which has enormous clout at one moment, is simply gone once explained. It's like a bubble. You prick it and it is finished."

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Updated: June 12, 2018

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