Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Superstitions are not bad but dont cling on them

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Superstition as defined by the Oxford Dictionary means “Excessively credulous belief in and reverence for the super natural. A widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as bringing good or bad luck”.

I don’t think there is anybody on this earth, living or dead; who does not have his/her own set of superstitions. Even the most sworn atheist would have superstitions because they transcend the barriers of religion and are more often subconscious.

Superstitions make an individual undesirable in society when it hurts the being of another. A popular superstition is the black cat crossing. I find this superstition most amusing because the black cat never stops its journey because you crossed its path. An inhuman superstition would be elders saying don’t go when a particular person is standing outside the house. An equally ridiculous one is “don’t ask where you are going?” when someone is stepping out of the house. Most of these superstitions have vanished from urban areas because of compulsions to reach our jobs in time. As it is we are not able to reach our jobs on time because of the never ending traffic jams, wonder what would happen if we had to studiously follow these superstitions.

There are many non-hindering superstitions like lucky shirt, color, number, etc. The famous umpire David Shepherd used to hop whenever the score board used to read nelson i.e. 111 or its multiples. The number 13 is dreaded by most westerners as is the day Friday the 13th. These are not desirable because a number does not make or break an individual. People pay huge amounts to get certain fancy numbers for their vehicles. This is very desirable because it means additional revenue for the Government.

Cricketers have their own superstitions. Jimmy Amarnath used to always ensure that a red tag hung out of his back pocket every time he went out to bat; A famous Australian opening batsman used to not change any part of his clothing, if he was not out overnight (actually I think it was a ploy to keep away close in fielders); Sunny Gavaskar always used to go out to bat on the right side of his partner. Even politicians have their own sets of superstitions. The most famous one being Pandit Nehru wearing a red rose on his suit. All the above superstitions are okay (except that of the Australian) because they are personal to individuals.

Coming to myself, I am phobic to the number 13 but that does not mean I would turn away a bag containing 13 bundles of Rs.100 notes or a pouch containing 13 diamonds. It is true not only of me but of most. As the famous saying “Baap Bada na bhaiya, sabse bada rupiya”. Even superstitions take a back seat when it comes to money. Superstitions per se are not bad if they don’t hinder any individual’s freedom, but don’t cling on to them if it means material benefits.

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