"SUPERSTITION" SAID Burke "is the religion of feeble minds." These are deep rooted and irrational beliefs which have no profanity. It is belief that has no basis in reason. It is the daughter of ignorance and fear.
Superstitions are the legacy of every civilizations and inherited by the following generations.
Superstition originated perhaps when man was at the mercy of the natural elements. It has come down to us from ancient times. Primitive people respected and worshipped the forces of nature like the Sun, the Moon, Water etc. They worshipped fire because of its destructive ability. They believed that diseases were caused by the wrath of gods as well as evil spirits. They tried to satisfy god with offerings, prayers, sacrifices etc.
There are certain common superstitions which are shared by all in the world. Belief in spirits, ghost and witches; the cries of birds like owl and ravens and mewing of cats are superstition followed all over the globe.
India is home to a number of superstitions. As Pascal said "Superstitions is founded on fear and ignorance and leads men to form false ideas of duty, to dread chimeras and to lean on a broken reed."
In India cat crossing one's path, a sneeze or when someone calls or interrupts while going out are all considered bad signs.
Contracting chickenpox in India is considered to be the anger of goddess.
Untouchability is one the worst superstitious beliefs of Indian people.
Some superstitions can sometimes lead to heinous crime. Women who were suspected of practicing witchcraft were tied and burnt alive.
Article 15 and 16 of the Constitution talks of non discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion, caste, sex or any of them…
Article 17 talks of untouchability whose practice in any form is prohibited.
Directive principles of state policy also talks of eradication of untouchability.
Our constitution whole structure is based on treating citizens at par. But in lieu of having so much of kickers provided in the constitution, society is still under the dark clouds of superstition which is acting like a hydra-headed monster.
Solutions are there but we are improving slowly. Is it not surprising that one has to give his life for because he was fighting scientifically against superstition and religious belief system.
It is very sad that Dr Narendra Dabholkar has to die an unfortunate death. Nation very much is in need of such people. Do we ever have Rjaram Mohan Roy,Iswarchandra Vidyasagar who fought against religious traditional superstitious bad practices. They fought against child marriage, sati, girl education and widow remarriage etc. Could we ever have such people who have love for their religion with scientific temper and attitude in their mind?
After the murder of RTI activist and anti superstition crusader Dr Narendra Dabholkar Maharashtra government decided to issue an ordinance to empower the government to deal with superstition and black magic that harm our society.
Also the Assam government has enacted a law against superstition to put an end to the practice of witchcraft in the Kokrajhar and Jorhat region of the state.
However, laws are not sufficient. We need to spread awareness among the masses and make them understand that superstitions are nothing but unscientific ideas. They are unadulterated believes that grow with and practice during one's life time.
We need scientific temper, scientific attitude along with knowledge. As knowledge spreads, superstition will dwindle and disappear altogether.
We need to keep in mind that though government and many other organizations are doing a lot to curb Superstition but until and unless there is awareness among the people it cannot be eradicated. Only government policies and awareness camps cannot be a silver bullet. The people have to rise up against such practices.
Swami Vivekananda told us repeatedly to throw away all preconceived ideas and reasons for ourselves before believing in any thing. Therefore we need to analyze things in logical way. Only then we may be freedom from superstitious believes and practices.