Superstitions Prevalent in India

By – Supriya

Superstition may be defined as an illogical or unreasonable belief, or acceptance of a certain phenomenon as it is without trying to know it’s cause. It also involves belief in omens, charms ,demons,witches,useless ceremonies and in the existence of supernatural beings.Superstitions mostly are the outcome of ignorance , outdated and unwarranted beliefs and backwardness. In this age of scientific reasoning ,logic and progress , superstitions still cloud the mind of a common man. Although western influence- to an extent has been successful in erasing out superstitious beliefs through the spread of education and public awareness ,yet superstitions have great hold on the all developing countries including the Orient.Somehow the Orient i.e., the East has always been equated to exotic settings , remote places and strange happenings. The forests of Africa were believed to have a hypnotizing and mesmerizing quality and it was suspected that people changed and got transformed in Africa. Even India, for long, was considered a land of snake – charmers , magicians ,witches and strange sights ,by the westerners.

The Indian society, in the modern era, still seeped into ignorance and lack of education,has deeply fallen into the ditch of superstitions. Only a small fraction of society which is educated and open- minded is free from the clutches of superstitions to some extent. The condition of rural class or uneducated masses is the worst as they don’t even want to change.One should not leave home if anyone sneezes or sees a man with an empty pitcher or if a cat crosses the path and heaven protects if the cat is black – these are believed to be early signs of unsuccessful ventures or ill -luck. To see a one -eyed person early in the morning or a widow is sure to bring a bad day. The hooting of an owl and the howling of a dog are all signs of I’ll – luck or even death.The crowling of a crow or the falling of a comb indicates the forthcoming guests. One should not wear perfumes while crossing a cemetery or walk under a peepal tree during afternoon time or eat sweets and pass through a graveyard or else one will surely get afflicted by ghosts. One should not walk through cross – roads from right in the middle as again ghosts might capture you. If one drinks milk of a domesticated cow, one should never stand and drink milk as it might reduce the milk production of the cow. Itching of the right palm signifies good luck and of the left palm I’ll – luck . A similar thing is believed with the twitching of the eyes. Itching of the sole of the feet indicates that a journey is to be undertaken in the near future.
The list of such superstitions is endless and all of them are amusing in their own ways. The belief in evil eye, wearing of tabeez and charms to ward off ill- luck or to bring good luck are different kinds of superstitions found in India. It is the most discouraging to see that many a times educated people are in the habit of indulging into superstitions as much as the illiterate ones in the country. Beliefs regarding ghosts ,evil- eyes , charms etc are nothing but manifestations of human weaknesses. Weak minds cling to such things in case of failures to attribute their share of blame instead of acknowledging their faults and working hard to remove it.The dead cannot harm as much as the living can be kind to their fellow beings.

Generally, women are found more susceptible to Superstitions, may be because it was the female sections of the society that remained uneducated and ignorant for years. Now, women are trying to break free from the unprogressive shackles of superstitions. The only effective weapon against the cobwebs of superstitions is education, awareness and development of scientific attitude as well as aptitude. Firstly, there is a need to educate women who are responsible for educating the entire family. Besides, nothing should be accepted without any scientific reasoning. Then only can we shake off the deep and age-old roots of superstitions which have now become a part of our tradition ,ritual, culture and religion. With advancement in science and technology, although we have been successful in evaluating superstitions to an extent, yet a little more effort is needed to completely remove these from our daily lives.

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