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Superstitions : Science or Mirage

Updated: Dec 11, 2022

(The curation and accuracy of this content is at the discretion of the author)

‘Superstition’ - A widely used and practiced term in India . It has its roots deep into the value and belief system of most of the Indians . No doubt such a rich and diverse culture will stem different beliefs and umpteen ways to practice them. So is the case with superstitions , this term is coined from Latin word ‘superstitio’ which means extreme fear of God.

The Cambridge dictionary defines superstition as-

“ Belief which is not based on human reason or scientific knowledge, but is connected with old ideas about magic, etc.”

Superstitions are not country , religion , race or community based but they are widespread notions which have found their place across the world. It would be wrong to only blame India for following certain norms which are inexplicable by science. The Greeks are well known for their mythology which include various superstitions as well . Even Shakespeare’s plays contains stories around omens, witches , shamans etc.

Some omnipresent examples are:

  • Having curd and sugar before some important event

  • Not cutting nails or using broom at night

  • Number 13 being considered unlucky

  • A cat crossing your path is considered a bad sign

  • Not allowing women to enter in the kitchen during her menstrual cycles

  • Itchy palm indicating wealth

  • Going to pundits/temples for mental health disorder treatment.

While some of the above stated examples might sound harmless , one might choose to follow them or one can turn a blind eye towards them. There are also some plausible explanations for such superstitions ,

E.g.- Not allowing women to enter kitchen during periods is underpinned by saying that in olden times women had to bear cooking responsibilities and to give them some rest and relief from menstrual cramps , their kitchen duties were truncated.

When access to electricity wasn’t a common thing , people were advised not to cut their nails so that they don’t end up harming themselves(which might not be the case in today’s world). One needs to see for oneself which of the superstition or saying is redundant in modern times, and which will prove detrimental .

The never ending debate on credibility of superstition has given us various view points.

One lot of people blatantly disregard any such thing and claim them to be treacherous . While the other lot of people follows and give scientific reasons behind certain sanctimonious beliefs. But, that’s not all my friend . The area is not complete black and white , there is a grey area which consists of abysmal people and organizations whose ill intentions are to loot naïve people unscrupulously. Certain superstitions which violate fundamental human rights can not be ignored.

The criminality behind their ideologies and practices are being slowly revealed to the world. Falling into such traps can harm a person financially , physically and emotionally and can prove to be insidious for their well being. One big example is the thought that people are caught under some bad spell when they behave abnormally and don’t act like oneself , It is normal for a layman to think that they can be saved from the bad spirit by shamans and pundits. There are some well known places in India where a deluge of people is fooled by such persons in the name of treatment and are charged hefty amounts .But, it is not all about the money, but people stay in delusion and do not seek medical help , due to which the patients have to suffer a lot. Bi-polar disorders , multiple personality disorder , dissociative disorder are some of the medical cases which people are not aware about and seek such unauthorized help which can prove fatal.

Some well known faces of “babajis” whose networth is in millions and own huge properties have been caught by the police in charge of Rape, financial harm and various other charges .

It is such a shameful act and these people must be condemned at national level . The web series AASHRAM depicts one such case . In the name of religion and God , such fraudulent practices harm people and expedite the spread of superstitions .People tend to ignore mental health and avoid seeking medical help which is an unfortunate sign of regression.

Such pernicious activities rise in the name of religion. The judiciary and the constitution of India highlight that rituals , ceremonies and festivals are integral part of any religion and one is free to practice and follow any religion of their own choice . Preamble, Article 25 and Article 26 in the constitution introduces the right to freedom of professing, practising and propagating any religion without any discrimination. But the exercise of freedom must have certain limitations and boundaries to protect other people from getting exploited. Offenders and criminals frequently hide behind the walls of freedom of religion for the crimes they commit.

People must understand and follow their conscience before blindly trusting any notion or giving in to any person or organization. Human sacrifices , fraud , looting people in the name of God is still practiced and glorified around the globe , the sanctions and punishments on such people can be a bit difficult due to the blind support of their followers. The judiciary and the cops have to be careful as there is a high risk of hurting someone’s religious sentiments in such cases.

One must be educated by themselves and must be aware of such nuances. Taking an easy route and following shortcuts to escape hard work can never be fruitful. These practices can only be eradicated by developing a strong reasoning power and education. Lack of awareness and illiteracy are the prime reasons for such practices to thrive ,and it is not a child’s play to completely eradicate superstitions out of people’s belief systems . It will require a combined effort of media , government and people. Anti-superstition laws must not remain on paper only. It’s high time that people from all walks of life recognize the issue and develop a rational mindset.

As they say “Superstition is a religion of feeble minds.”

By our Member - Sophia Kundu (Get membership and feature your article. Check here)




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