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Campus Beat

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Science vs superstitions- India

Paprja Apurvam

ByPaprja Apurvam

Jun 26, 2020

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macro photography of black cat
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Do you still believe that women shouldn’t enter a temple while they are menstruating? Or do you get affected if a black cat crosses your path while you are on your way? If yes, then you are one among 74%people in India who believe in these superstitions.

What exactly are superstitions? Superstitions can be defined as illogical or unreasonable rituals which are accepted without knowing the reason behind their acceptance; or a belief in omens, charms and the existence of supernatural beings.There exists widespread craze for superstitions in India, and some of them completely cross all lines of logic and reasoning. Life in India is suffused in superstition of various kinds, from the most bizarre to the innocuous. Everyone has their own stories and many their own superstitions. I have seen that people in India are tightly coupled with society for their lifetime. We have been taught to follow whatever the ‘elders’ say for eternity. This wisdom has its own advantages as well as disadvantages.

Superstitions originate in a highly chaotic state, when your confidence levels are low. Then your mind tries to take irrational external emotional help to boost its confidence. For example,

You went for an interview. Let’s say, you aced the interview. Then comes conclusion part-

1. Some will believe that you worked hard and were worthy enough to get the job. Whereas,

2. Some will believe that “your graha was in your favour, you must have worn the auspicious color specified for the same day etc.

And that’s how superstitions are born.

On the other hand, science is a realistically known and popular word for this era.Science and superstitions are poles apart. Yet they are the two sides of the same coin unknown of their interdependence. I wont say all the superstitions are illogical and unrealistic because there are few which have scientific reasoning behind them.

1. The most common of all, menstruating women shouldn’t be entered in a temple or mosques and kitchen. Did we ever get a real reason behind this ?

The science behind this is that in those days, women already are losing a lot of blood and hence should be allowed some rest. In order to give them a break, they are prohibited from entering the kitchen. Moreover, ancient stone statues of God maintain a certain equilibrium with the atmosphere and may collapse if any disturbance occurs. As women release a lot of heat during this period, they are not allowed inside the temple since this may cause a disturbance in the natural equilibrium and may result in cracks in the idols.

2. We all have been stopped before chewing a basil leaf instead asked to swallow it, right? Why exactly is that prohibited? Swallow tulsi leaves never chew. The science behind this is that the tulsi leaves contain a little amount of arsenic. Thus, chewing it directly could result in degradation of enamel.

3. The Ghosts of a peepal tree . The scariest myth of all. But do ghosts really stay on a peepal tree? Fortunately, no. There is no such thing as ghosts/spirits on a peepal tree. The science behind this is that the trees use carbon dioxide during the day and releases oxygen but at night, it is the other way round. So, when you sleep under the tree, the excess carbon dioxide level can make you feel heavy in the fist and suffocated which is associated with the feeling of being possessed by some spirits.

4. Our elders always advice us to eat curd and sugar before heading for something important. An act of assurance for good luck. But there is a scientific reason behind this ,the consumption of curd has a cooling effect on the stomach and sugar which is added provides instant glucose which makes your work easier and successful. This combination is indispensable for Indians and its consumption was slowly linked to good luck.

5. Bat entering the house brings death. A superstition with indeed a scientific theory behind it. The real reason behind this superstition is that the bats bring a lot of deadly diseases along with them and when there was no medical facility available during those days, people would die due to rabies, Ebola, Nipah and other illnesses brought on by the illness. And let’s add one more disease due to bats, Coronavirus.

So, Superstitious beliefs are easy to define within the scientific framework. Any idea or theory that cannot be tested using the SCIENTIFIC METHOD, is superstition. One needs to be aware about believing a superstition before it starts creating negative impact on them or others.These rituals might become so entrenched that they become unconscious habits, regardless of whether they cause an inconvenience in our day to day lives.Where things might get troublesome is when, under the spell of superstitions, we end up doing something that is harmful or vice versa.

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