This past one week was not a great one for Indians. Firstly, our great team got knocked out of the ICC Cricket World Cup Semi-final, when all of us had declared Virat and his men World Champions long before even a single match was played. Secondly, the much awaited and hyped Chandrayan 2 mission was called off just an hour before the launch due to some technical snag with GSLV- MkIII popularly known as ‘Bahubali’.
So, I am not trying to write about the technical or scientific causes of these failures. That is for eminent scholars of both fields to do and find a way to reach sure success; which they will in due time. But here, I am to talk about the even bigger and graver issue associated with these failed attempts.
‘Madam ji, Buri Nazar lag gayi’ was the first thing my dejected staff told me the next day, after the nerve wrecking loss to New Zealand. Over confidence, over zealous Shastri and run out Dhoni came much later. And after hearing much such nonsense I had to strictly ban all cricket related talk so that they could focus on work and spare my brain.
I am sure, someone somewhere in Sriharikota is also trying to find a way to keep the evil eye out. This space mission had generated a lot of media frenzy, especially with the foreign press as this incredible mission is costing less than half of the budget of a latest Hollywood superhero movie and will put India in league with lunar pioneers – the US, Russia and China.
This concept of evil eye is deeply ingrained in Indian psychology. Every other truck, auto rickshaw has this famous slogan ‘bure nazar wale, tera muh kaala’. Every second car, home, business has presence of the nimbu-harimirch todka to ward off sinister spirits. Every child has a black kohl mark somewhere on his head to protect him from unseen nefarious evils.
A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. – George Bernard Shaw.
We all fall on superstitions for all matters, small and large. Let me categorize them into auspicious superstitions and inauspicious ones. Auspicious like, having sweetened curd before a big exam or event, looking at two birds bringing good luck, twitch on palms bringing money, adding one rupee to the shagun for prosperity. Inauspicious ones like, a sneeze before leaving or black cat crossing your roads, broken mirror bringing bad omen, twitching of eye, and the list is endless.
Twitching of eye could mean that you are either tired, have eye strain, allergy or simple dry eyes but our ignorance and fear points towards fiendish things coming our way. The poor black cat is the culprit for the flat tyre on the road. Absolutely no mistakes on our part. No carelessness, no injuring roads or poor maintainence. If my child catches cold, I blame these mysterious miscreants rather than change of weather or poor immunity, lack of slippers or warm clothes.
Superstition is the religion of feeble mind. – Edmund Burke.
I have myself been at the receiving end of my mother’s wrath innumerable times for cutting nails on a Saturday or washing hair on Thursday. As I have a perennially allergic nose, so sneezes never leave me and more so when the guest is leaving the house. As a result, my apologetic smiles are accustomed to numerous angry stares.
It is difficult to pinpoint the origin of these irrational thoughts, and to look for any scientific evidence to their origins; but such credulous old wive’s tales exist across all cultures, all religions, all countries.
Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy; mad daughters of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the earth.
My solution is Que Sara Sara Whatever will be, will be..The architect of modern world is Science and Spirituality. And the modern thought is the scientific rational thought. So, let us all pray and strengthen our spiritual heritage and scientific temperament to fight hard times and overcome obstacles rather than contaminating our mind with corrupt impurities.
Wishing good luck to our Superheroes- Cricket Team India and Team Chandrayan for success in all their endeavours. Aacheeee…