Superstition is a peculiar type of traditional belief without the basis of reason. It is founded upon fear born of ignorance and mystery.
It is true that science has made great advancement in its course but still it is unable to explain some mysteries of the universe. And the superstition finds its way where the mystery prevails. Of course, a vast section of people is the victims of superstition for their ignorance even in those fields where the beacon light of science has already reached.
There are numerous examples of popular superstition in our society. Belief in ghosts and spirits is traditional and so is the faith in astrology and palmistry. People believe that the journey of a man will be successful if he finds a dead body on his way or a pitcher full of water at the time of his start. On the other hand, if a man sneezes or house-lizard ticks or cries when somebody is going out on a journey, it is thought that the journey would be inauspicious. The sight of a crow crying on a dry branch of a tree or the hooting of an owl at daytime and the moaning of a dog or a cat at night is regarded as very ominous and these are taken by the superstitious people to foretell some evils.
The so-called civilised and elite persons also have some superstitions. They look upon 13 as an unlucky number. Sometimes they wear rings with different stones or metals to gain some material prosperity by creating good luck with the favour of the planets in the sky.
But the evil effects of superstition mostly affect the illiterate people. The superstitious belief in the power of talismans (‘Kobach’ or ‘maduli’), ‘sacred water’ and incantations to cure diseases often takes a heavy toll of human life. The system of ‘satidaha’ was a cruel superstition which is now, more or less, abolished. But another cruel practice, ‘witchcraft’, is still prevailing among the ignorant massses.
There is, however, a definite cure for superstition and that is education. If people are properly educated and encouraged to develop a scientific attitude and rational thinking there is no doubt that superstition will die a natural death.
We must do our best to remove all superstitions and ensure the emergence of a new social order and real progress of the nation at the advent of the 21st century. We should expect that scientific spirit must go deep within our social system and change our attitude from within.