Superstitions are irrational beliefs, habits, customs, and dogmas that are not guided by rational and practical thinking. They basically have no valid ground and they essentially portray the dark and pessimist side of one's outlook.
Superstitions cannot be healthy for any society as they are based on blind faith than logic. They pollute the reasoning capacity of the mind of people.
The rural areas of Haryana, where nearly 65 per cent of the population reside, have high number of superstitious people in absence of any concerted effort by the state government to create awareness about the ills of such superstitions. The same is true with the state's urban cities too. People are educated but not rational because superstitions are rather too deeply rooted in the social fabric. At times there is even extremity of superstitions because of the jinxed and polluted thinking of the people who either get into fake rituals to please the deities in hope of worldly pleasures and material gains; or indulge into the barbaric superstitious practice based on cruelty and devoid of any logic.
The government inaction to dispel blind beliefs means that there exists a long list of superstitions in the Haryana society that have existed for long because the people actually do not try to explore the fact and blindly and ritually follow a tradition just because their ancestors had followed it. In other words they learnt to be superstitious since their childhood and then these superstitions became the basis of their mindset. They started believing, thinking and acting in that way.
This blind belief in omens and charms and similar superstitions has even led to criminal activities which are crassly overlooked by the state authorities. Witch hunting is one such evil practice which is an outcome of superstitious beliefs in the patriarchal Haryana society. The superstition that a particular woman is a witch leads to her being subject to various forms of tortures and even death. A National Crime Records Bureau report on Witch-killings in India in 2008 showed Haryana, with 25 such witch killings, stood second in the list of states after Jharkhand. A 2013 study shows that such witch hunts are rampant even today in Haryana because of the failure of the state government to spread awareness about such superstitions and social evils.
Superstitions prevail in different forms in Haryana society. Some common forms are: the belief that the crow and the black duck must pass on one's right, the snake on the left. Owls portend desolate homes.
These are traditional beliefs. Charms and totkas too are in common use. A common totka is by hanging up the garlands of the leaves of the Siras and the mango with a mystic inscription on an earthen platter in the middle and the whole.
Yet only the state government can be blamed for the prevalence of the superstition that if a person has to marry a third time, he must first marry a tree, so that the new wife be the fourth. While polygamy for Hindus is legally banned, the prevalence of such a superstition reflects poorly on the state. Yet, only recently, even the state Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was accused of polygamy by his political rivals!
Indeed the deeply rooted superstitious beliefs, lack of education (learning levels in Haryana are lower than national averages) and the absence of concerted efforts by the government to create large scale public awareness on the drawbacks of holding to superstitious beliefs are reasons why the people of Haryana still live with superstitions.
The need of the hour is:
- To make people aware of the redundancies of dogmas and superstition.
- Enhance the logically thinking capabilities of the people through scientific methods.
- Formulate laws and take strict action against those people who are found to be promoting superstitious beliefs such as totkas and witch-hunting.
- Introduce special courses in schools with focus on encouraging rational thinking to dispel superstitions.
- It is high time for the government to work on these counts for a better and more progressive Haryana society.