Thursday, December 30, 2010

J.B.H.Wadia-Humanist, Film producer

J B H Wadia

Humanist, Producer of Stunt Pictures

The wall Posters of J.B.H.Wadia’s Nadia (1908-1986) became attractive  when I was
studying for Inter (1954) in Guntur, A.C.College.
That was a big fascination in those days.
Though the movie ‘Hunterwali’ was released in 1935 and ‘Miss Frontier Mail’ in
1936, in the cities of Andhra they were screened twenty years later only.
Nadia’s picture was exhibited primarily in the wall posters,  showing her
holding a hunter, wearing black sunglasses and tight pants which thrilled  youngsters.
Heroin Nadia rides on a horse racing beside a train, suddenly jumps off the horse
onto the train, beats the villain, hops back onto the horse and rides away.
All those were  scenes which make the audience jump in their seats.
It was all a success. Plenty of money flowed in.
Hindi Stunt movies came 30 years earlier than Vithalacharya’s Stunt Telugu movies. Nadia’s
movies made students and youth go into frenzy those days.
By 1943 Nadia acted as a romantic tragedy heroin in the movie ‘Mauje’.She was a
foreigner. Yet, she acted as the first Indian heroin to act in stunt movies. Later she
settled in India and married.
J.B.H.Wadia’s role was pivotal in all this. His studios by name ‘Movie Tones’ were
in Bombay. His son was running the studio after his death. The credit goes to Wadia.for recognizing
Nadia’s talent and introducing her to the cine field. He saw her and approved of her
as an eligible candidate for movies when she was 20 years of age. Gradually she got
close to Wadia’s family and wanted to marry his brother. But his mother, an orthodox
Parsi, did not approve of it.Nadia waited until after her death in 1960 and married
I met  Nadia, around 1970 through Wadia. She stopped working in movies by that time.
Around 1970 I got acquainted with J.B.Homi Wadia. He was a student of
M.N.Roy. That brought us both together. Wadia, who played a pivotal role in ‘Radical
Humanist Movement’ as a follower and close companion to M.N.Roy.
He wrote a small book with a nice title - ‘The Man’ about his attachment with Roy
(M.N. Roy, the man, an incomplete Royana 1983). Hidaythulla, Vice -President of
India released the book.
He collected rare photos of M.N.Roy. Casa Da Vinci was the name of Wadia’s
Bombay residence. Roy couple were staying there and enjoying the hospitality of
Wadia. He extended good hosting to M.N.Roy in Bombay. Wadia was very courteous
Having relations with Wadia as M.N.Roy’s admirer/fan, I invited him to
Hyderabad. Meetings were conducted on his arrival. He narrated his experiences in an
Hyderabad Central University Office used to be in Abids Centre. Once,
when Wadia came to Hyderabad on our invitation the meeting was held there.
Abburi Ramakrishna Rao, A.L.NarasimhaRao, Avula Samba Siva Rao, Jasti  Jawaharlal,
N.K.Acharya, A.S.wadwalkar, Alapati RavindraNath, Alam khund Miri and the like
participated with enthusiasm in that get-together. Wadia delivered a speech. We
queried about his movies and especially about Nadia.He answered and told many
things patiently. That was a memorable experience.
Wadia mentioned a plan for a documentary about Roy. But it has not seen the light.
However,  I never imagined during my Inter days as I
watched Nadia’s movies that I would meet Wadia. I got close tohim, corresponding with him, meeting him
whenever he was in Bombay was good experience. He was a film producer who took
care of not showing  religious blind faiths in his movies.
His son’s wish to produce a documentary on Roy has not come into action as yet.
Since Wadia was a Humanist, other than stunts and thrills he did not allow
superstitions in his movies.
At last a documentary on M.N.Roy was filmed in the Bombay studio.
Wadia was close with V.B.Karnik, V.M.Tarkunde, G.D.Parekh, Indumathi,
G.R.Dalvi, and A.B.Shah.
I was introduced to Wadia around 1970 as earlier mentioned.  But my desire since the student days, to see her and talk to
her if possible, had been fulfilled.
Her original name was Mary Anne Evan. Nadia was the name taken in India.
Mother was Greek, father was Welsh.
Mary Anne Evans came to India at the age of 5 years. Along with the father she
trained in horse riding, Ballet and worked in Jarcho circus.
About 1930, Wadia eyed, invited her and moulded her as heroin. She bid good-bye
to the cine field from 1970 with the movie ‘Ek Nanni Munni Ladaki’. She settled well
in a Parsi family. She was soft spoken. She died in 1996.
J.B.H.Wadia was an extraordinary film maker, director and Humanist.
He was M.N.Roy’s follower. He used to boast as Royist..He worked in ‘Radical
Democratic Party’ established by Roy. When Roy came to Bombay he used to stay in
his house. A refined film maker. Conducted film field and politics separately.
Nadia in Wadia`s movies

Monday, December 27, 2010

G.D.Parekh, Indumati ,Humanist couple

Sib Narayan ray, V M Tarkunde
Indumati Parekh in Hyderabad

Govind.D.Parekh, Rector Bombay University, Humanist
Both Mr.  Mrs. Parekh were dedicated to Humanist Movement and to the
Renaissance initiated by  M.N.Roy.
While Govind.D.Parekh was alive and active, Indumati was doing medical service to
the poor in Bombay slums. Those days G.D. was known as a spokes
person of Radical Democratic Party and a famous speaker.
Avula Gopala Krishna Murthy recalled that he was a treat to the ears delivering
fluent speeches on the stage, exchanging glances with Roy, if he was there by his side,
joking, amongst the applause of the audience. Parekh would stop at once anytime Roy
I did not know him then. After that we were together for 5 days during Dehradun
Study Camp in 1976-77. We met unexpectedly on train in the compartment while going to that
camp from Delhi. V.B.Karnik was also there. We traveled chit - chatting. In those
5 days of Study Camp Parekh participated on many occasions in the debate. As an
expert speaker he explained Roy’s policies of decentralization. They were very good
to hear but seemed not practicable.
There was a social get together in M.N.Roy’s house, 13, Mohini Road. Each from
different regions in their own style narrated their experiences and shared jokes as
Gowri and Indumathi were serving cocktails to everyone. Parekh made everybody
laugh. Malladi Rama Murthy, Guthikonda Narahari and I were there. RamaMurthy
does not drink. That day we encouraged him to drink and he too had a drink. We all
Tarkunde’s eyes were wet with tears as he recalled the days he spent with Roy in
that house.
I used to meet Parekh in Bombay. He was working as University Rector and wrote
a book on General Education. He encouraged Prof A.B.Shah who worked with him in SIES college along with Sib Narayan ray.
Pareskh translated a book written by Lakshmana Sastry Joshi in Marathi into
English titled ‘The Critiq of Hinduism’. I translated  that in Telugu and published
in ‘Prasartitha’ a quarterly Telugu magazine.A.B.Shah published Parekh’s articles supporting some of the policies about Tilak in Humanist way quarterly.
 Parekh’s articles  appear in ‘Radical Humanist’.For some time G .D .was editor of Radical Humanist weekly.
After him Dr.Indumathi Parekh,  started serving the Bombay’s
underprivileged and found a place in their heart. She proved the importance of social
service by working in Humanist Movement with dedication. She brought forth the
issues of women.With her efforts she built M.N.Roy bhavan in Bombay which has become great center and international seminars were conducted in it.
We participated in small gatherings in her residence. She stayed as our house guest
with us in in Hyderabad.  Indumathi, along with Gowri malik,  used to shop
together in Hyderabad Old city.Komala helped them for local shopping in old city.
Indumathi toured Andhra many times. She released my translation work of
M.N.Roy’s biography ( by Sib Narayan ray) into Telugu at
Potti Sriramulu  Telugu University,Hyderabad.
She organized International Humanist Conferences quite successfully in Bombay.
She came to Washington while I was there in Washington for discussions to
plan Women welfare programmes ( around 1997). We met and discussed. As a leader of Humanist
Association she encouraged the volunteers and secretaries. She believed in practicing.
She was not a great writer, nor an orator. But International Humanists observed her
programs and said “not Mother Theresa, we must recognize Indumathi”.
  Tom Flynn, editor of Encyclopedia unbelief requested me to write about he which I contributed.
Levy Fragil called her Humanist Heroine.
Indumati, Dr Sivaram, registrar of Telugu University), Justice Avula Sambasivarao, while Innaiah speaking

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Premanand the great rationalist magician

Lto R Innaiah, Premanand, Dr P M Bhargava in Hyderabad Rationalist meet

Basava Premanand traveled in India and in many other countries in the world.
He conducted training classes in India. He exposed the fraud taking place
through “Babas and Mathajis” by their mesmerism and magical skills. He brought
into open the cheating and anarchy of right from Sai Baba to many others. A
documentary book by name ‘Murders in Sai Baba’s Ashram’ was brought out.
Another book was written scientifically explaining with examples, the what and
How of the tricks of magic. He arranged a science exhibition at his residence in
Podanur near Coimbatore. When the religious parties tried to destroy a science
exhibition Dr.P.M. Bhargava conducted, Premanand came to rescue and organized
that at his place.
He ran a monthly called ‘Indian Skeptic’ through which he brought up to date
world news.
The literature he gave us is a treasure.
As Abraham Kovur in the past, Premanand too served in rationalist
He is 80 years old. He reached the final stage of Cancer which he had been
enduring for some time now. He wrote an idyllic Will for the future generations
and wanted his body to be donated to the Medical College on his death.
Premanand died in 2009.
When he toured in USA we were in touch. He addressed demonstration meetings in Center for Inquiry, Amherest, Buffalo. New York state, USA. He also met Mr James Randi , who appreciates him

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

S. Ramanathan, Rationalist from Chennai

Ramanathan started Rationalist Movement in Madras and took it to National level.
In 1938, he was in Rajaji’s cabinet. He edited  the magazine ‘Indian
Rationalist’. He put together a good collection of Rationalist library. He traveled all
over the country and encouraged the Movement.

We invited him to Hyderabad. By then he was much aged. This is about
way back in 1976. He spoke in a very low voice at Y.M.I.A Hall. Abburi Ramakrishnarao , the chief organiser of Radical Humanist organization in Andhra , and
A.L.Narasimha Rao,journalist and humanist  were present.

We went to his residence in Madras. After his death, his wife did not show
interest in running the Library and the Magazine. So they were shifted .Surya
Narayana and Jaya Gopal took up those responsibilities.

Jaya Gopal went to America, got married and started a web site from Atlanta.
He died around 2000 A.D. Surya Narayana went back to Kerala. When the magazine
was brought to Hyderabad Jaya Gopal used to write. Avula Sambasiva Rao as the
Editor, N.K.Acharya, Jasti Jawahar Lal and I managed the running of the magazine.
This is after 1970. After sometime, Surya Naryana moved the magazine back to
Madras.  It did not run for long in Madras either.

Ram Nathan was the foremost of Indian Rationalist Movement. He toured
in Russia too. He took great pains to conduct the Movement. It is a matter of great
pride to be closely associated with him.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

AGK Humanist, Rare Personality

AGK performed several secular marriages. Here is such one in Chirala; Mr Venkateswararao and Ms Ratnakumari wedding.

(Avula Gopalakrishna Murthy)
This happened one day at a well-attended marriage function at Tenali
in June 1963. Even as the marriage between Jayasree and Rajagopal took
place, a famous writer-cum-journalist working in the US Consulate General,
Madras, Mr. B S R Krishna, walked in, took out a piece of a paper from his
pocket, and handed it over to Avula Gopalakrishna Murthy (AGK). BSR
was not an invitee to the marriage as we initially presumed. He had dropped
in to accomplish a special mission. It was to extend an invitation from the
US Government to AGK to visit their country as its guest. All of us were
AGK was not a politician, who held any position. He was not a celebrity
in the field of cinema or sports. He was not the recipient of any Government
awards and titles. Yet, the US Government chose to invite him as its guest. He
was the first in AP to receive such an honor.
AGK had served as Chairman of the Tenali Municipal Corporation only
once. By profession, he was an advocate. He was born in a remote village called
Mulpuru in 1917. It was from that village that Avula Sambasiva Rao, who
served as a High Court Judge, hailed. AGK had obtained his MA Ll. B from
Lucknow. He was married and had six children.
AGK had seen the nation before and after the Independence. He did
not belong to any well-known political party. He took part in the Radical
Democratic Party, which M N Roy founded in 1940 and dissolved in 1948.
As a student, he met Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. When Bose lost in
the race to become Congress President in 1938, nobody bothered about him.
AGK, however, invited Bose to his hostel room and took care of him. After all,
our society honors and worships those in power..
AGK met T Rama Swamy, well-known reformer and revolutionary writer, in
Tenali. Rama Swamy performed marriages in Telugu and advocated the equality
of sexes. He also developed friendship with Chalam. He introduced both of
He was a great essayist-cum-speaker. He wrote essays and gave lectures in
both English and Telugu with great ease. He was a wizard with words. He kept
gatherings at marriage ceremonies spell bound.
He started his own magazine but was unsuccessful.
T Rama Swamy introduced marriage oath taking in Telugu. He treated
upcoming writers and artists, especially those belonging to backward classes,
with respect. He dealt with poetry and prose touchingly. He excelled in subtle
Poems of Samuel Johnson, Mathew Arnold, Stephen Spender, and
Audin in English and writings of Yetukuri Narasaiah, Tripuraneni, Sripada
Krishanmurthy, Pendyala Subrahmanyam, and Jashua in Telugu were his
favorites. He loved playing badminton and encouraged others to take part in
AGK took part in the Red Cross and other social movements
enthusiastically and encouraged them. Many painters including Goli Seshaih
Venkata Kavi, Venkata Subbayya Vasireddy
(Vadlamudi) often visited him. He never pardoned writers and poets with
destructive or negative thoughts. Such writers ranged from Nori Narasimha
Sastry to Viswanadha Satyanarayana. He loved drama and encouraged it.
His friends’ circle included G V Krishna Rao, Palagummi Padmaraju,
Bairagi, Gokulchand, Yelavarthi Rosaiah, Jasthi Jagannadham, and Gopichand.
Politicians of different hues like Acharya Ranga, Damodaram Sanjivayya, and
Aalapati Venkatramayya tapped him often for his sane and wise advice.
Some of the people who had to face the brunt of his criticism were Neelam
Sanjiva Reddy, Alluri Satyanarayana Raju, Kalluri Chandramouli, S B P Pattabhi
Rama Rao, and Mandali Venkata Krishna Rao. He had a knack for spotting
people with talent whether they enjoyed any position or not. He identified
Peddireddi Timmareddi as a fighter for farmers.
He trained innumerable youth. He wrote the foreword for books written by
In 1960, he invited Annadurai to Tenali and conducted meetings on
rationalism. M N Roy visited Tenali many times after that.
Can we describe AGK as a journalist? Yes and no. He wrote exhaustively
and edited a number of small magazines. He turned to editors like.
Panditaradhyula Nageswara Rao and Narla Venkateswara Rao for advice.
Great humanists including Abburi Ramakrishna Rao consulted him. When
AGK wrote an article defaming Gandhi, a surprised Abburi complained it to M
N Roy.. Contrary to Abburi’s expectations, Roy supported AGK.
When AGK during his US visit criticized Jawaharlal Nehru, the then
ambassador B K Nehru threatened to send him back to India. AGK remained
When AGK was planning his return to India, some people asked him to
praise Vivekananda. He refused to oblige them by saying that he would speak
the truth as he knew it.. Andhra Prabha magazine editor Neelamraju Venkata
Seshayya accused AGK of defaming. AGK paid him back in the same coin.
Presno Municipality in the State of California chose him as a member of its
board. He used to interact with children whenever he visited a school in the
US. He lived for some time with Vadlamudi Srikrishna in Chicago.
All this happened in 1963. On his return, he spoke and wrote about his
The Americans who met him felt they were lucky to have run into such a
AGK passed away in 1967 when he was 50.
His article on “The World around me” published in the Vahini magazine

Monday, December 20, 2010

A B Shah The founder of Secularist movement in India

L to R  Mr Mandava Sriramamurthy,Mr Koneru Kutumbarao,Prof A.B.Shah, Narisetti Innaiah

(Amritlal Bhikku Shah)

A B Shah played a crucial role in the Indian Humanist, secular movement.
Right from 1964 when I met him for the first time, I continued my friendship
with him until he passed away in 1982.

The Koneru Kutumbarao conducted a humanist training camp at Avanigadda in
Krishna district in 1966. A B Shah made his presence felt on all the days by
taking part in discussions and serving as a source of encouragement. He made
it a point to get the Telugu speeches translated into English so that he could
follow what others had to say.

Aavula Gopala Krishna Murthy, as Principal, undertook
the translation task for the benefit of A B Shah. A B Shah appreciated the
spirited speeches of Raavipudi Venkatadri, Tripuraneni Venkateswara Rao, and
Among other participants were Malladi Rama Murthy, G V Krishna Rao,
Kalluri Basaveswara Rao, Meka Chakrapani, Ch. Rajareddy, M V Ramanayya,
Tripuraneni Gokulchand, Bachu Venkateswarlu, and Gavini Venkataswami.
I turned out to be a good companion to A B Shah. We indulged in
chitchatting over a peg of drink or a round of smoking. A B Shah smoked
through pipe whereas Raavipudi relished smoking cigars. Mandava
Srirammurthy contributed to the success of the camp. Kutumbarao made
commendable arrangements and extended good hospitality.

A B Shah toured Andhra many a time at my invitation. He developed
friendship with ABK. When he was bed-ridden following cardiac arrest in
1967; we took un undertaking from him that he would go to Madras for
treatment. He, however, passed away when he suffered a second heart attack
even before he could go to Madras. .

I conducted many meetings of A B Shah in Guntur, Vijayawada, and

Hyderabad .He addressed bar associations. His speech at the AC College in
Guntur won a lot of appreciation. Yelavarthi Rosaiah, whom it was difficult
to please, too praised A B Shah. We conducted many crucial meetings with
Hindu-Muslim associations on secularism. Alam Khundmiri cooperated with us
in the conduct of such meetings..

We had dinner with the then Vice Chancellor D. S. Reddy. Planning to give
his daughter in marriage to Vice Chancellor Narotham Reddy’s son, he elicited
from me the family’s background. The marriage did take place but broke down
I introduced Aalapati Ravindranath and V R Narla to A B Shah.

A B Shah brought out very good books under the banner of Nachiketha
Publications. He published a book after every seminar. He directed me to
sell the books and share half of the revenue with him. We had sold literature
on humanism that way. Gurijala Seetharamayya from Tenali and Koneru
Kutumbarao from Vijayawada helped me a lot. We translated A B Shah’s book
on Scientific Method into Telugu. Anupama Publishers of Vijayawada released
the book of essays at a function, with Sriramamurthy as the chief guest.
A B Shah was on the editorial board of the Radical Humanist magazine.
He later brought out the Quest magazine. He established the Secular Society
and published the Secularist magazine. He told Puri Sankaracharya that there
were references in the Vedas to Hindus consuming cow meat. Tarkatirtha
Lakshmana Sastry supported A B Shah. With the assistance of M P Rege, A B
Shah ran the New Quest magazine. Dilip Chitre acted as its editor for some time.
M N Roy enunciated the principles of humanism based on modern science.

He opined that arriving at principles based on the Vedas was not correct. C B
Ray agreed with him while V M Tarkunde differed.

I read a written copy of his book Philosophical Consequences of Modern Science. He
passed away before he could get it edited and published.
The writings of A B Shah were very scientific and organized.
In 1978, I received a letter from Garden Stain from the U.S. asking me to
write on Humanist, rational, secular movements in India. He also wanted me
to do an Encyclopedia of Unbelief. A B Shah had suggested my name for doing
the work. I accepted the assignment and brought out the book. I kept Garden
Stain informed of the book’s contents. He died of cancer after the book’s
I met so many learned men like VV John, J B Naik, and Amrik Singh
A B Shah was born in Gujarat in the Digambar Jain community and
turned into a Humanist under the influence of A N Rai. He moved to
Maharashtra and lived in Mumbai and Pune. During the Emergency, he stood
V K Sinha, a disciple of A B Shah, runs the Secularist magazine now. B A V
Sarma, also a follower of A B Shah, moved to Hyderabad from Bombay and
passed away after working in Osmania University. He was one of the geniuses
along with Srinivasan and Prabhakar Paadhi in the secular movement.

A B Shah founded the Satya Sodhak Mandali in Maharashtra and facilitated
translation of Hamid Dalwai writings into English by. Dilip Chitre. I translated
the book on Muslim Politics into Telugu. The Prasaritha magazine carried it.
I introduced A B Shah to Bhavanam Venkatram when he was Chief
Minister. As they found themselves on the same wavelength, they grew
closer. Edward Shills ran the Minerva magazine from Chicago. With that as an
inspiration, A B Shah ran the Humanist Way magazine for sometime. A B Shah
published the writings of G D Parekh, a good friend of his. Critic of Hinduism
and Essays on Tilak were some of the articles the Humanist Way carried. It
stopped appearing after eight issues.

A B Shah came to Hyderabad for a seminar at the YMCA. Narayan was
staying at the Taj Mahal hotel. We were amazed when he asked us to get a taxi
to go to the seminar hall, which was very close. It did not strike us initially that
he was not keeping good health. Doctors, whom we approached, diagnosed
him as suffering from a cardiac problem. He left for Pune for treatment.
I introduced Rashiduddin Khan, Y. Ragahavaiah, G. Ram Reddy, K
Seshadri, P V Rajagopal to A B Shah. All of them appreciated his wisdom.
The books on Gandhi and Nehru by A B Shah were the products of a
seminar he conducted. Some of his well-known books are Scientific Method,
Tradition and Modernity, and Challenges to Secularism.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Institute of Science and Human Values

Institute of Science and Human Values is new organization founded by Prof Paul Kurtz. The chairman of the Institute is Dr Stuart Jordan, retired astronomer scientist from NASA.Ms Toni Pelt is the chief organiser and Mr Jack is the webdesigner.
Several organizations from India and other countries have already expressed their willingness to affiliate with the institute.
The Institute will bring out quarterly journal from Jan 2011 and develop website of ISHV.
The first meeting of the Institute was held in Washington DC on 2, 3, 4 Dec 2010 where I participated along with two persons from periyar association namely Dr Sam Ilangovan, and Prof Arasu Chellaiah.
The Institute will hold its first conference on 20 May 2011 in Tampa, Florida, USA with the topic: How to teach moral education to the children.
Here are some pictures with Paul Kurtz, Dr Stuart Jordan, Ms Toni Pelt, Mr Nathan Bupp, Mr Jack Pelt, Dr Sam Ilangovan .
Toni Pelt
Innaiah Narisetti with Prof Paul Kurtz
Mr Nathan Bupp, public Relations for ISHV

Ms Toni Pelt, chief organiser and Dr N.Innaiah

Mr Jack Pelt ,Web incharge

Dr Stuart Jordan President of ISHV and Dr N Innaiah