He was my grandfather, the paternal one. He was a sceptic, an agnostic and a staunch atheist. He didn’t believe in any entity being God.
In today’s terms, I can dare to call him a militant atheist. Now though being called similarly, militant atheists do not behave in the same way as religious militants do. Being a sort of militant atheist, he never attacked believers physically but did attack very base of their beliefs, very rationally and took pride in it. But as long as the family was concerned, none could counter his arguments. So everyone kept a mum. Believers continued worshipping. He continued his rational ways and none came in each other’s ways. Having said this, he always joined our Ganpati Aaratis, enjoying the rhythm and intricate poetry therein. He would also knit pick on our pronounciations and make an effort to correct them!
Personally speaking I am also slowly walking my path towards being a non believer but unlike him I do not care what people believe and how rationally they act. Though I believe that God does not exist in the way the others say but God is a concept that has born in fantastic human mind. And it’s existence is limited to that. He did not believe in God even as a concept. He wasn’t a literalist even. He not only believed but also thoroughly enjoyed abstract concept of music. Just like we get some weird concept in our mind and start calling it God, he liked hindustani classical and semi classical music and completely disliked bollywood or any such music; this is something which he himself couldn’t reason rationally. Just like this, I think it is better to leave this God thing to everyone’s personal liking.
Being his grandson, I saw him when he was already in later half of his life. A lot has changed in him over the course of life and his thoughts were more than rigid. It would be ironic to say that he clung on to his rationals, religiously.
He died peacefully on 10th July 13 due to old age and sheer exhaustion of living his life so fully. My heartfelt respect to him and may he always rest in peace.