Dr H. Narasimhaiah was an uncompromising rationalist, a friend and lifelong supporter of Mahatma Gandhi and president of the National Education Society, challenged Sathya Sai Baba successfully

Dr. H Dr H. Narasimhaiah

Sai baba could not materialize a jackfruitHN, as Dr H. Narasimhaiah was popularly known, originated in 1962 the Bangalore Science Forum to promote the scientific temper. In that spirit it hosted thousands of lectures and showed over 500 films before his death in 2005. His credo was “Do not accept anything without questioning”, though he was never an atheist. His office was adorned with a quotation of Albert Einstein on the wall “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”. Dr. Narasimhaiah was certainly no mediocre mind, for he promoted science in education to such an extent and of such quality that he is generally revered by the Indian intelligensia.

Science vs. 'Spiritual' Superstition The Deccan Herald reported:"Dr Narasimhaiah stole the limelight when he challenged the Sai Baba to create a pumpkin out of thin air instead of gold rings and watches. (Later a devotee asked Sai Baba to create a jackfruit  - which he did not do), as reported in the Times of India (see thumbnail scan on the right here or go to source here).  Narasimhaiah had also invited the Baba twice to perform miracles in front of a committee. Dr Narasimhaiah, who had a doctorate in nuclear physics from an American university, was the Chairman of the Kannada Watchdog Committee, and a member of the Legislative Council. He headed the committee which probed banamathi (witchcraft) menace which had reached alarming proportions in North Karnataka. After a thorough investigation with experts from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences, he came to the conclusion that banamathi was a fear-complex perpetrated by vested interests on psychologically weak villagers."

Black Magic/Witchcraft in India
Sathya Sai Baba has promoted the belief in black magic on various occasions, which most of the world will admit is very far from being helpful to India! Recently, the age-old superstitions still plague India life to a far greater degree than ispublicized. A truly soul-chilling set of horrific reports from the Deccan Herald beyond any possible doubt that the superstition is causing the most horrific deaths around India. So much for the benign dispensation of the self-proclaimed God of Gods, Sathya Sai Baba, who defies science and promotes belief in black magicians etc. Let us hope that the true spirit of inquiry and critical thinking about fantastic claims will spread rapidly as India's information technology spreads to all corners of the land and India thus becomes further integrated in the global community. (see also on witchcraft in India by 'National Geographic' etc. here)

See article: Committee to Investigate Miracles and other Verifiable Superstitions of Bangalore University under Dr. H. Narasimhaiah