Bharat humko jaan se pyara hai, sabse nyara gulistan humara hai….
But have we actually thought about the superstitions (called andhvishwas) and rituals (called paramparain)? If yes, have we tried to validate them?
‘Nahi bhai! In farzi ki cheezon mein kaun time waste kare!’, must be your answer.
However, I tried to explore and expanded my knowledge about Indian superstitions.
Let’s begin with Big B’s acknowledgement about India and its people
Amitabh Bachchan once said in his speech at IIT, which is also featured in the movie Padman, “India is not a country of 1 billion people, it is a country of 1 million minds.”
Well it’s true. However, India, being the 2nd most populous country all around the globe, still lacks behind in a number of fields like development, technology, etc.
The reason behind this is that the major part of the country is still uneducated and are strong believers as well as advocates of superstitions. (Hamare buzurgon ke zamane se aisa hota hai, tum hame angrez na banao kind of stuff!)
Yes, superstitions, the practice that was followed by our ancestors at their time and by our elder generations even today, is still in the hierarchy. (Hum bhi shaam ko jhadu nhi lagate:P)
This irrational belief in supernatural influences, not only cause damage to the livelihood of the believer but also acts as a huge barrier in the progress and development of the country. (Lekin koi science ki taraf se aaya hi nahi ye batane buzurgon ko, toh mai hi aa gya)
Reasons behind some common Indian superstitions
After diving back into the passage of time, imaging the lifestyle and facilities available to our ancestors, I could trace a lot of reasons for the superstitions. You’ll find them all reasonable (us time ke hisaab se) and useless (abhi ke hisab se) at the same time.
So, here we go!
1) One should not cut nails at night. (Raat mein nakhun nahi katna)
Reason – There was no electricity during the time of our ancestors and one could cut his skin or hurt himself while cutting nails at night. This was why our elders prevented us from cutting nails at night.
2) One should not sweep the floor at night. (Raat mein jhadu nahi lagana)
Reason – This superstition comes with an added notion that if you sweep floor at night, you will suffer loss of money The reason is quite clear. While sweeping the floor at night in the dark, when there was no electricity, one can sweep some precious jewelry or other important stuff too. This is why it is considered to bring misfortune.
3) One should not cook on the death day in the family. (Jab ghar me kisi ki mrityu hui ho to chula nahi jalta hai)
Reason – This ritual might have been created to give time and rest to the family, as death is not a happy occasion, people need to time to come out of this trauma. In such condition, a person never wants to do such things like cooking food.
4) One should take a bath after a funeral. (Mitti se aane ke baad nahana chahiye)
Reason – This ritual is still meaningful. It is important to take a bath to prevent infection from the dead body. There are a number of harmful microorganisms on the dead body of a person so it is recommended even by doctors to do that.
5) One should use lemon and chili to protect from “Buri Nazar.” (Nimbu mirch se buri nazar nahi lagti)
Reason – Lemon and chili are both rich in different nutrients which protect our body from various harmful germs and diseases. This was why, people who fell regularly ill earlier were advised to keep these things near them.
6) One should not sleep under a tree at night. (Raat me ped ke neeche nahi sona chahiye)
Reason – Our scientists have proved that at night the trees intake oxygen(O2) and gives out carbon dioxide(CO2), so it’s recommended not to go under a tree during night, especially the Asthma patients, as there are chances of death due to lack of oxygen. Save life.
7) One should not move out in open during solar/lunar eclipse. (Grahan laga ho toh ghar se bahar nahi nikalna chahiye)
Reason – During the eclipse, there are various harmful rays that are emitted from the sun and moon respectively. When we are in the open, these rays directly hit us, causing mutations in our body. So, it is recommended to be in shelter during the time span of an eclipse.
8) Girls must not enter kitchen or any holy place during periods. (Un dino mein rasoi mein mat jana)
Reason - Girls have tough time during periods. In earlier times, they were weak also. They were not allowed to enter kitchen or to do work so that they take rest as they feel discomfort during periods. Also, there were no sanitary napkins/pads during that time so our ancestors made it a habit to prohibit girls during this time.
9) One should throw coins in the river and ask wishes. (Ganga maiya ko daan do aur icha puri karwao)
Reason - Some years back, India used to have copper coins or coins made up of copper alloys like bronze and brass. Copper, being a purifying agent of water, purifies it (when thrown in rivers) and makes it safe for the people to use it in their daily life. But today, coins produced are of silver and so, it’s useless throwing them in Rivers.
10) One should donate money to the religious places. (Dharmasthala me chanda/daan jama karna)
Reason - There were no banks earlier. People use to contribute some amount in these religious places and when someone was in need, they can take that collected amount as a loan. Once the person had sufficient funds, he used to return the loan to the religious place. This was the entire sustainable model.
These might have been reasons for few common Indian superstitions and rituals that are followed in India, by a still large majority of people. Though I was still not able to list out the logical reason behind the believe that something bad happens when a cat cuts your way and some guests will visit you when a corvus/crow shouts outside your house.
So, if you know someone who believe in any of these, then educate him about the possible reason and tell them to discard it if possible.
Also, we’ll be glad to hear about more reasons that might be possible behind other superstitions that are still being followed in the society.
Do mention them, if you could find a reason, using the comment section below.