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Superstitions in India - A Hoax

Superstitions in India - A Hoax

I was on a holiday in the picturesque resort town of Queenstown, New Zealand. While going around the local market with my mom, we stopped at a souvenir shop to buy gifts for friends and family. The temperature outside dropped as the evening approached, and it was supposed to snow heavily following the rains of the past few days. Thus, in dire need of an umbrella, I opened the one with the sheep print to check it. The lady behind the counter mumbled that I would have to buy it. Her colleague prompted from the other side, “She says that you have opened the umbrella inside the shop. Here it is a bad omen so you have no other option but to buy the same one.” Every place has its own beliefs. But I vehemently oppose connecting a belief to a supernatural cause and further affecting the growth of modern societies.

I strongly feel that if by a group of people or in a particular place, certain superstition has been believed from time immemorial due to varied reasons, it shouldn’t have an impact to the extent of being detrimental to anybody’s life.  Moreover, moving towards a progressive society, we cannot enforce our superstitious thoughts and block steps taken ahead. If a cat crosses my path on my way to an interview and I wait for anybody else to cross before I do, I would be late for the interview and have the poor cat to blame.

Here in India, there have been superstitions such as Sati, where the widow is burnt alive along with her husband’s dead body. It has been abolished for almost 2 centuries now, with only a few instances still happening in recent years. However, the stigma attached to a widow being inauspicious has not yet ended and prevails in parts of the country.

In the present, people in villages as well as literate people in the cities blindly follow age told superstitions pertaining to astrology, vastushastra, etc. Astrology is being taught in various universities across the country, but should our lives be driven by such Pseudosciences? The pure institution of marriage is becoming a commercial industry in India.

In India when we talk about arranged marriages, the first thing is the matching of  kundlis  of the poor souls who decide to marry, based on astrology. Unfortunately if any of the two turns out to be ‘manglik’ literally according to them having fault in their stars, which could make the marriage unsuccessful, our beloved Gurus and Pandits would make us marry buffalos, trees and snakes.

Recently Toilet, a movie in India, starring Akshay Kumar raised the issue that numerous villages still do not have the basic facility of a toilet in their houses. This is solely attributed to the belief in Brahmin households that a house where the sacred tulsi plant resides, prayers are offered or food is cooked, a toilet would nullify the effect of purity.

Our country is developing in all aspects, political, economic and social. Our society is accepting new norms and the youth are attempting a fresh change in the age old beliefs and superstitions that need to shunned. I agree with existence of scientific facts but the stories woven around those and superstitious beliefs attached make the situation worse.

Bathing after a funeral ceremony was for the purpose of avoiding infection from the dead body, so what is the origin of the story of the dead body’s soul being linked to the same? I heard my neighbor tell my mom that a Pandit said her son will have a love marriage or she is going to fall sick soon. If the so called pandits have the power to tell us everything that will happen to us and give us solutions to deal with problems in our real life through numerous superstitious beliefs, what does that make them? Gods of our lives?

Somewhere we all have believed and do believe in a lot of good luck charms and age old superstitions, but those that take us back in time and not towards a society that welcomes innovations and new ideas are unacceptable. I do not object the traditions, customs or religion we follow in India, but I certainly do not agree with the superstitions that hold no meaning and affect our lives adversely. We need to stop such beliefs that are a mere ‘hoax.’

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