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Incredible India: The land of superstitions!

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by Arpit Gupta
India is a country where superstitions are all around. These are prevailing in the so-called “well-educated Indian society” also. Some have their base in religion and religion-related books, some have the base in the old scientific facts and many of them exist with no conceivable reason as such.

However still, Indian culture is very closely associated with these superstitious beliefs which have a great impact on a typical Indian’s livelihood. Here are the most common superstitious beliefs practised in India among almost all the sections of society:

1) The most common belief with no logical proof is that noone should cross a road which a black cat has crossed before. That’s because the person who first crosses the road would get his luck spoiled and would loose everything he/she has.

2) Another one is about the solar eclipses, which says that no one should venture out during the solar eclipse because those contain deadly rays which show the anger of God. Especially pregnant women are kept indoors to avoid any kind of deformity which may arise in the child about to take birth. In fact, some families avoid cooking or eating anything during the eclipse.

3) One of the most disappointing belief is that women during their menstruation cycle are considered impure and unclean. They are not allowed to enter in the kitchen. This might be called as a good thing to be as during menstruation, women loose lot of blood and become weak so they must be kept away from such manual works. But this step seems something done to subordinate the position of women in the society and probably supports the dominance of males.

4) A common belief seen every day in Indian households is the cutting of nails and hair only on particular days of the week. People say that it’s a sin to cut nails and hair on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Moreover, it is also said that nails should not be cut after sunset .

5) In India, “neg” (present) is given on every pleasant occasion. It is believed that the amount of money presented should always end in 1. It is considered auspicious to add 1 rupee in the amount if the money being given as a present. That is why envelopes in India already come with one rupee coin on them.

6) If someone has visited India once, he or she would have noticed the string of lemon and chillies on the doors of the shops, homes, and offices. These are believed to save from the evil eye and bring good luck. It is believed that the Goddess of poverty likes sour and spicy things so these lemon and chillies satisfy her and she doesn’t harm the person who hangs the lemon and chillies (usually 7 in number).

7) Peepal trees are believed to be the abode of ghosts and spirits. Everyone avoids going there at night. Something disastrous is believed to happen if someone goes near peepal tree during night and people say that the person going near the tree is likely to be killed by the ghosts residing in it.

8) A person born under the influence of Mars is called “Manglik”. People avoid marrying such persons as they are believed to cause marital discord and divorce, sometimes even death. However, it is said that if two such persons marry then the effect of the “mangal dosh” gets cancelled and they can live happily.

9) Snakes are believed to drink milk. On the occasion of a festival called Nagpanchami, snakes are captured and forcefully fed milk as it is considered auspicious. Due to this, a large number of snakes die annually in India.

These are some of the common beliefs which are seen in India and can probably be accounted as the reason behind society’s backwardness. People with great degrees of study are somewhere lagging behind due to this reason. This needs to be changed through a gradual process to clear the way of overall growth and development. If you remember some of the superstitions in India, you are most welcome to add up your comments.

Arpit is a undergraduate student pursuing Mechanical Engineering at IIT-Roorkee. His twitter handle is: @Arpit2476667

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  • sudheer naik

    India is an ancient country.As it follows the culture of ancient people which were unpleasant now a days to follow those superstitious.when the India stop this type of superstitious that day will be WELL EDUCATED INDIAN SOCIETY

  • devika todi

    most of the superstitions discussed here apply mainly to Hindus. these beliefs are no longer blindly followed. people have begun to question everything. i, for one don’t care when i cut my nails or if someone is born under the influence of mars.
    also, many superstitions have scientific backing. they had been originally properly thought out and were logical. however, as time passed, these beliefs lost their logic and instead, became in set in stone.

  • sudheer naik

    India is an ancient country.As it follows the culture of ancient people which were unpleasant now a days to follow those superstitious.when the India stop this type of superstitious that day will be WELL EDUCATED INDIAN SOCIETY

  • devika todi

    most of the superstitions discussed here apply mainly to Hindus. these beliefs are no longer blindly followed. people have begun to question everything. i, for one don’t care when i cut my nails or if someone is born under the influence of mars.
    also, many superstitions have scientific backing. they had been originally properly thought out and were logical. however, as time passed, these beliefs lost their logic and instead, became in set in stone.

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All You Need to Know About the Sport of Jallikattu

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

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banned bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu
Jallikattu sport of Tamil Nadu, Wikimedia

By Ruchika Verma

  • Jallikattu is a traditional Tamil sport
  • The sport involves bulls and humans, the latter trying to control the former
  • The sport was banned in 2014, which created a lots of controversy

Jallikattu or Sallikkattu, also known as ‘eru thazhuvuthal’ and ‘manju virattu’ traditionally, was in news last year, around this time due to the ban imposed on it by the Supreme Court. The ban was much hyped and gathered a plethora of media’s attention.

Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons
Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons

Jallikattu ban has also garnered lots of political attention due to the involvement of Tamil Nadu and Central governments. The issue is much hyed due to the political context involved in it too.

What exactly is Jallikattu ? 

Jallikattu is a traditional sport and spectacle in which bulls of the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds are released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to control the bulls while they try to escape.

Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr
Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr

Jallikattu is practised in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. The districts, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem are the most famous for conducting Jallikattu. The game dates back to Tamil classical period, which went back to 400 BC. Ancient Tamil Sangam literature described the practice as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ which literally means “bull embracing.” With time the sport has become synonymous with valour and bravery.

Also Read : Tamil Nadu legalises Jallikattu with a New Law

What happens in Jallikattu and how?

The bulls participating in the game are all lined up behind a narrow gate and released one by one into the arena. The participants have to either control the bull by holding its hump or clutch away a flag attached to the horns. Owners of the bulls often announce prizes for the man who gets the hold of their bull.

The objective of the game is not to kill or overpower the bull, but to hold onto their hump for a certain amount of time or distance.

The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com
The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com

There are three variants to the game. First, when the  bulls are released from an enclosed area. Second, when the bull is directly released into open ground. And third, when bull is tied to a rope as the only restriction, and a team of 7-9 members has to untie the prize from the bull’s horns in 30 minutes of time period.

The gate through which bulls enter the arena are called vadi vasai. The bulls charge at the men standing most near to the gate. One of the rules also say that a participant is only allowed to hold bull’s hump and no other body part. The other rules varies from region to region.

Also Read : Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu

Jallikattu Ban and Controversy

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

In 2014, The Supreme Court banned the sport, endorsing the activists’ concerns according to which, Jallikattu is not only cruelty towards the animal, but also poses a threat to humans. According to the data provided, between 2010 and 2014, 17 people were killed and approximately 1000 were injured during Jallikatu.

The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.
The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.

However, the ban invited a lots of protests. Many Tamil communities called this ban a violation of their culture and tradition.

In 2017, many lawyers plead to remove the ban which was rejected by the court. After requests and arguments of Tamil communities, central government reversed the ban, however, after Supreme Court stuck the order down, the ban was imposed again. However, the government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned the sport and brought it back into the practice.