Updated: Jan 9
Superstitions exist around the world and are a vital part of countless cultures. These superstitions stem from folklore that dates back thousands of years. Often, they have no scientific evidence to back them up. Some of them are harmless, such as not cutting one’s nails post dusk while others could potentially be hazardous to one’s well-being, for example, confining women to a singular room during their menstruation period.
While superstitions exist as nothing more than just simple gags and are usually not followed to the bone, they occasionally cross the threshold as to what constitutes a benign belief and turn into unsafe practices that risk the lives of many who believe in them.
Currently, vaccines are the most sought-after commodity as COVID-19 continues to grow stronger and take the lives of thousands every day. However there exists a strong number of people that refuse to take any vaccine giving multiple, yet irrelevant reasons such as, “trusting their immune system,” “the vaccine kills and doesn’t protect,” and many other baseless, unscientific claims.
This will prove to be a challenge for once a majority of the population has been vaccinated, getting the remaining minority vaccinated will be twice as hard as they will need to be coaxed into taking the vaccine which could severely hurt the vaccination rate. This could possibly result in spikes of COVID-19 cases, denting the economy once again.
Speaking of ways to counter the coronavirus, India’s love for cows has been sparked yet again! Take a recent video on Twitter where scores of men were seen scooping cow dung and liberally slathering it all over their bodies, confidently claiming that such a practice warded off diseases. These kinds of superstitions dent our country’s image as nothing more than just cow-worshipping simpletons. Modern science holds no value in the minds of those people. A comment by Akhilesh Yadav accurately depicted the situation, “Should we laugh or should we cry?”
The jury is still out on that one.
For centuries, women have been on the receiving end of harmful superstitions: sati, isolation during their menstrual period, accusations of being witches, the list goes on. While the practice of these rituals has dwindled, the occurrence of these practices hasn’t completely stopped yet. Rural areas still hold notions that carry no scientific weight, and until then women will continue to be subjected to these illogical rituals in the name of religion and superstition.
The same can be said for homosexuality. Despite many scripts, depictions, and sculptures showing that homosexuality has been around for ages and is an essential part of Indian culture, people continue to state that “all this gay and lesbian” is an outgrowth of Western influence. However, the mindsets of people are steadily changing. This can be attributed to the decriminalization of the Colonial law, section 377 in 2018, liberalization of people’s views, and the power of the internet.
Superstitions hold a strong place in Indian culture, without the existence of these, a good chunk of India would be lost. While one-half of these superstitions stem from ancient scientific practices that still hold value in the era of allopathic medicine, the other half are baseless, unscientific practices that damage the reputation of modern medicine. Every Indian has encountered various superstitions from their relatives, and the only response we have to them is the signature groan indigenous to hormonal teenagers.