Robert Green Ingersoll
WHAT IS SUPERSTITION?
- To believe in spite of evidence or without evidence.
- To account for one mystery by another.
- To believe that the world is governed by chance or caprice.
- To disregard the true relation between cause and effect.
- To put thought, intention and design back of nature.
- To believe that mind created and controls matter.
- To believe in force apart from substance, or in substance apart from force.
- To believe in miracles, spells and charms, in dreams and prophecies.
- To believe in the supernatural.
The foundation of superstition is ignorance, the superstructure is faith and the dome is a vain hope. Superstition is the child of ignorance and the mother of misery.
In nearly every brain is found some cloud of superstition.
India's favorite superstitions!
A black cat crosses your path and you go back, a crow caws and visitors are expected. A lizard falls on your head and you live in fear of death! Are these omens or figments of an over-active imagination? Did old wives have nothing better to do than cook up tales to frighten generations ever after? Irrespective of the veracity of these, they make for great reading. Read on for a sampling of some Indian ones!
Here are some evergreen Indian superstitions!
- Do not ever leave home without consulting an astrologer. Rahu and Ketu, two ominous planets, are waiting to ruin things for you. Wait for the shubh mahurat, based on the Hindu calendar. This also holds true for weddings, naming ceremonies, housewarming rites and everything in life!
- Consult a horoscope before getting your children married. Go ahead only if the virtues and gunas match perfectly.
- Seeing an elephant during a journey is auspicious as Ganesha, the God who removes obstacles will ensure success.
- A dog howling at night chills the blood - a portent of approaching death.
- When leaving home, it is auspicious to see a bride, a Brahmin or an religious idol. However, sighting a widow or a barren woman is not lucky!
- A new bride is judged by the fortunes or misfortunes that occur in her new family for a year after marriage. She enters her new home putting her right foot first.
- Mensturating women are regarded unclean and are isolated. They cannot enter the kitchen till they are ‘clean' again.
- Pregnant women are not allowed to travel alone at night or enter an uninhabited home because ghosts might possess them. They should read religious books and watch inspiring movies so that the child grows up to be a good person.
- Hiccups indicate someone is thinking of you. But an itchy eye refers to someone maligning you, or your envy of someone.
- A barber shop remains closed on Tuesday as hair is not cut on that day.
- Nails should not be cut at night for fear of evil spirits.
- Twitching of the eye is highly inauspicious.
- An eclipse occurs when Rahu and Ketu swallow the sun, and people avoid eating anything, and go and take a dip in rivers after it is over.
- When there is a birth or death in the family, the members are unclean, and do not go to the temple till the stipulated period is over.
These colorful customs, no matter how absurd, keep the religious folk busy and the irreverent ones in mirth.
Many of these customs came about for perfectly valid reasons in the past, but don't you feel that they are now being followed only as mere rites? What is your favorite superstition? Do you believe in any aof the ones we listed here?
The Instruments of darkness!
[Superstitions are the instruments of darkness. Superstitions arise from ignorance and ignorance is darkness opposed to light and the light is knowledge. "Macbeth", the play by William Shakespeare, shows us how the superstitious are doomed.]
"Macbeth", the play by William Shakespeare, features the protagonist Macbeth of whom transforms from a noble general in the Scottish army into a tyrant. It is through Macbeth’s own actions that he becomes a tyrant, however one would wonder if he is responsible for his own destiny or if he is ruled by fate. The three weird sisters initiate his desire to become king and his realization of the actions that would need to be taken for this to occur. It is because of Lady Macbeth’s ambition to become royalty and her insistence that he kill King Duncan that Macbeth physically carries out the deed. However it is Macbeth himself who is responsible for his actions and evidently his own fate.
Macbeth’s superstitious beliefs lead him to trust that the witches prophecies were true. His confidence in their prophecies is the initial catalyst in his demise. The weird sisters prophesied for Macbeth Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis, and King of Scotland. After the first two prophecies came true, it was Macbeth himself who mentioned taking action in order to fulfill the third prophecy. His best friend Banquo knew that oftentimes, to win us to our harm,/ The instruments of darkness tell us truths,/ Win us with honest trifles, to betray us/ In deepest consequence.(I, iii, 132-135) However Macbeth was not as intelligent. Rather he temporarily convinced himself that if chance will have [him] king, why, chance/ may crown [him],/ Without [his] stir(I, iii, 154-156) implying that he believed every word that came out of their mouths. Despite his attempt to not play with fate, he couldn’t seem to control his ambition for power. Moreover, when the witches foreshadowed Macbeth’s future, at no point did they indicate that what they said were truths.
SUPERSTITION AND INDIANS - N.ANANDAN
Superstition refers to the blind faith in an idea without giving any consideration to reason, logic and evidence. Many superstitions have originated in human society on account of ignorance and fear of the unknown and incomprehensible. They thrive mainly on the greed of human beings. Many superstitions have disappeared in course of time as well. For instance, for many centuries lightning, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and epidemics were assumed as the reflection of God’s anger over the behaviour of human beings. To appease God, many rituals were carried out. Prayers were offered; fasting was undertaken and offerings were given to temples and even human sacrifices were made. These superstitions have vanished gradually during the last two centuries due to development and spread of scientific knowledge about nature and her manifestations.
History of humankind gives an account of how many superstitions have prevailed and caused misery to human beings in the past. In the Western societies, during the Middle ages ( about 1,100 to 1.500) thousands of innocent men and women were killed merely on the grounds that they practised witchcraft. In Medico, during Azetic regime, hundreds of men were brutally sacrificed every year to appease God. In India, till mid-nineteenth century, thousands of women were burnt alive in the funeral pyre of their husbands on the superstition that they would live in heaven with their husbands. In addition, human sacrifices were carried out in both North and South India, either to appease God or to get his favour. Likewise, many barbaric superstitions existed in India.
For example, during Puri Jegannath Temple’s car festival, many devotees would voluntarily fall before the wheels of the chariot to get killed. They committed this suicide on the supposition that they would go to heaven. In that period, many forms of suicides and female infanticide were in practice. Such cruel customs were abolished by the British Governor General, Lord William Bentinck in the 1830s.
Even in this age, numerous superstitions continue in human society. For example, in Western societies, Friday is an unlucky day and thirteen is an unlucky number. Contrarily, Friday is an auspicious day to Muslims and Hindus. Similarly, crossing of black cat on one’s path is bad omen in Western countries and India. But, it is a good omen in Egypt. Thus, the kind of superstitions vary from country to country.
All superstitions are harmful since they inactivate the reasoning capacity of human beings. Secondly, they arrest human endeavour and initiative. Thirdly they make people waste their energy, time and money in worthless rituals and ceremonies. There things lead to decline and decay of civilization. So, we have to be vigilant and guard ourselves against the superstitions.
In India, superstitions are numerous and varied in nature. Our superstition of attaching sacredness to ‘Cow’ is well-known world over. Our caste based obscurantist ideas and beliefs are proverbial. So, let us study the major superstitions that prevail in Indian society and their impact.
In Indian societies, idol worship is one of the major superstitions that preclude the development of scientific bent of mind. It its history is probed into, we find that idolatry has been one of the oldest superstitious belief of humankind. Almost all societies of the world practised them in one form or another during certain period. But, considering its evil effect, many societies began to shed ‘Idol worship’. Jewish society dropped it during 600 BC. European societies gave-up idol worship from the third century onwards synchronizing with the spread of Christianity. Arabian societies dispensed with idolatry from seventh century onwards coinciding with the spread of Islam. Thus, most of the societies of the world have given up the practice of idol worship. A few African and Asian countries do practise them but they do not perform any odd and meaningless rituals and ceremonies to idols. While worldwide situation in respect of idol worship is so, it is widespread in Indian society.
In India, idolatry remains as an integral part of Hindu religion. It is being given much importance by the priestly class to further their interests. Many fictitious stories about the effectiveness of worship of the idols of Gods and Goddesses are being spread by priestly class. Believing those fictitious stories, Hindus throng the temples in large numbers to worship the different idols.
People visit famous temples to get good fortune. For instance, about 30,000 to 60,000 people visit Lord Venkateswara Temple at Thirupathi every day. They wait for days and hours to get a glimpse of that statue for a few minutes. They offer their hard earned money to the temple fund. Their contribution in an average per day runs to about one to one and a half crore rupees. Likewise, more than seven million pilgrimstrek to the mountain shrine of the Goddess Vaishno Devi every year seeking blessing, protection and miracle. About four crore people visit Lord Ayyappa Temple in Kerala every year.
The masses assume that by worshipping idols, their sins will be forgiven and they will be rewarded in this life as well as after life. Only under that notion, they perform costly pilgrimages to the so called holy places and fill the temple coffers with money and valuables. This illusion prevents people from acquiring worldly wisdom. It also averts people from realizing the value of thought and work. As a result, people live in vain hope. They expect wonders to happen in their lives. Under this false hope, they don’t involve themselves in any productive and creative activities sincerely. This wrong mental attitude towards life and work acts as a major hurdle to our progress.
Belief in auspicious days and time is the other widely prevailing superstition in Indian society. This superstition has been in existence in human society for a long period. Many moral preachers such as Buddha, Confucius, Christ and Prophet Mohammed have condemned this belief. As a result, faith in this superstition is less in the Western and the Eastern societies. But, this exists widely in India society. According to this belief, a few days are auspicious and other days are not. For example, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday are auspicious days. Tuesday and Saturday are inauspicious days, unfit to conduct any social functions. Likewise, in a day, different times are auspicious while other times are inauspicious.
Only on auspicious days and time, festivals and ceremonies and functions are being held in Indian society. In an anxiety to carry out rituals and ceremonies in auspicious time, people experience several hardships. Fanatic adherence to this superstition leads to human sufferings at times. For instance, during the famous Kumba Mela festival, lakhs and lakhs of people gather and all of them are keen in having a dip in the Ganga river during the auspicious time fixed by the priests. While doing so, hundreds of people fall on one another and in the ensuing rush hundreds of people die. Similarly, stampedes are common in temple festivals across the country.
Auspicious day and time are being adhered to while conducting social functions. Auspicious days for solemnizing marriages are only 55 to 60 days in a year. The rest of the days i.e. 310 days in a year are marked as inauspicious days, not suitable for solemnising marriages. Believing this superstition, most of the people in the South conduct marriages only on those days. Not only Hindus but also Muslims and Christians conduct marriages only on those days. To that extent, this superstition governs the minds of Indians, irrespective of one’s religious conviction.
While the faith in auspicious days and timings is so strong and widespread in India, they are not uniform throughout the country. Different auspicious “months”, “days”, and “time” are being prescribed by different astrological systems. For example, Tuesday is an inauspicious day in the South whereas it is not so in North India. Interestingly, to the Hindus of Nepal, all week days are auspicious and marriages are being solemnized on all days in a year. This clearly indicates the senselessness of this belief. Such a belief has vanished in all the civilized societies. Only the Indians cling to this superstition fanatically.
The belief in the prophesy based on the position of some stars and planets at the time of one’s birth is another widespread superstition. This belief has been in existence since pre-Christian era. Its origin goes back to Chaldeans and Babylonians of 2000 BC. This belief had a jolt in the sixteenth century after the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473- 1543) pronounced his theory that earth rotates in its axis and moves around the sun. From the seventeenth century onwards the belief that the position of stars and planets influence the lives of human beings has started to fade due to the development of scientific knowledge about the solar system and better understanding of the planetary movements. The eighteenth century Europe witnessed rejection of astrology in view of the age of reason. In modern India, this belief should have died out. But, it continues.
In India, majority are under the impression that they can peep into their future with the help of astrology. Even the educated Indians believe the blabbering of the illiterate astrologers. In South India, bride and groom’s birth stars and horoscopes are still the deciding factors for marriages. Even in Kerala where the literacy rate is high, the belief in astrology and watercraft is at fanatic level. Likewise, faith in numerous superstitions such as palmistry, numerology, namology, Vasthu etc. is strong in India. In no other society, are the believers of these superstitions so numerous and make up such a larger percentages in our society. Based on astrology, people take un-wise decisions and dissipate their energy and natural resources in useless rituals and ceremonies. These wasteful activities are the great impediments to our progress.
Faith in God-men and God-women and their supernatural powers is another peculiar superstition in Indian society. This odd belief too had existed in all societies long ago. But, with the spread of knowledge and rationalistic ideas, this faith has waned in all the civilized societies. In India, this stupid belief is still alive. The present condition is such that anyone who can perform a few magics can become a god-man and live like a Maharaja of olden times.
For example, an ordinary man known as Sathya Saibaba has become a god-man by performing merely a few magical feats, which any magician can do. By posing himself as avatar of god, he has amassed wealth to hundreds of crores of rupees. Observing his popularity, many cheats and criminals have become self-styled god-men and god-women by waring saffron clothes. They live in great luxury. They have constructed their residences like palaces at an enormous cost. They deceive gullible people in many ways. They hypnotize people by making them sing devotional songs in chorus and do many rituals and ceremonies to hoodwink them. They employ mass media to hoodwink the masses. In no other civilized country, could this sort of cheats become god-men and god-women and have lakhs of disciples of exploit.
Thus, many superstitions rule the minds of our people. They poison the minds of our people fatally and suppress the basic instinct to think and act. They implant an ideology of slavish servility and paralyse the will and mind. They stifle self-reliance and deter people from living productively and creatively.
While the intensity in Indian society is striking, a global survey shows that many superstitions do prevail in all human societies to some extent. Only their role and impact vary. Observing these things, a basic question arises as why numerous superstitions prevail even in this scientific age. To this question, psychologists answer: “Everywhere people assume the existence of powers which could influence their lives for better or worse. To placate the anger of these forces or to buy their goodwill became almost obsession neurosis.”
To this question, the famous British Essayist Francis Bacon (1561-1626) answered: “The causes of superstitions are : pleasing and sensual rites and ceremonies; excess of outward holiness; over great reverence of traditions.”
In India, superstitions’ hold over the people is strong since the hereditary priestly class cunningly rationalize all superstitions and refer them as values and customs of Hindu religion. Secondly, the caste-based setup confuses our people and make them fatalistic. Caste-based customs and values spread slavish servility. These things collectively deaden the reasoning brain of our people and strengthens the roots of superstitions in Indian society.
Commenting on Atheism and superstition, Francis Bacon wrote “Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all which may be guides to an outward moral values, though religions were not; but superstition dismounts all these and erects an absolute monarchy in the minds of men. True to that comment, superstitions erect an absolute monarchy in the minds of Indians. As a result, most of the Indians follow the dictates of superstitions with the hope that there might be ‘something’ in them. They don’t question the beliefs and customs handed out to them.
Stressing the importance of ‘spirit of enquiry’ the famous rationalist R.G.Ingersoll (1833-1899) says, “Man should think; he should use all his senses; he should examine; he should reason. The man who cannot think is less than man; the man who will not think is a traitor to himself. The man who fears to think is superstitions’ slave.
As per this yardstick, large number of Indians are the slaves of superstitions since they fear to doubt their beliefs and put them to logical and rational analysis. By performing meaningless rituals and ceremonies, they imagine themselves as religious and pious. They are unaware that they are ignorant. To change the condition, spirit of enquiry needs to be encouraged at all levels. People should be motivated to think rationally and review all our values. They should be encouraged to discard the useless and senseless values and at the same time abide by the meaningful values.
Many societies were in a similar condition and by discarding useless values they became progressive. For instance, Japan kicked off the useless rites and rituals and became a powerful nation. Russia dropped many religious customs and became a healthy nation. Recently, many African countries dropped faith in sorcery and black magic and became progressive. These are the lessons to us. They indicate that we should develop a scientific temper in our society; that we should discard all superstitious ideas doled out to us in the name of tradition and that we should get rid of all anarchistic customs and beliefs. A revolution in the world of ideas is the need of the hour.
Young Indians are superstitious too
Atul Sethi, TNN Jul 26, 2009, 01.08am IST
Superstitions, they say, are the manifest weakness of the human mind and were created mainly to spread fear. The solar eclipse earlier this week proved the truth of this when superstition came to dominate the lives of many. Shankar Rajpal would vouch for this. The 24-year-old software engineer was in Varanasi to watch the solar eclipse along with his family. "While we were there, my mother insisted that we give food grain to beggars, to ward off the evil effects of the eclipse," he says. "To keep her happy, I agreed. However, while I was handing out the alms, somebody picked my pocket. How I wish now that I hadn't paid heed to these superstitions!"
Rajpal is not alone in regretting his momentary lapse into superstition. Most young Indians insist they don't believe in superstitions but they still go along with them. Some do so for the sake of their parents. Others do so because of peer pressure. Seema Bhasin, a college student, fasts during the navaratras. She says it's because "all my friends are into fasting at that time." Psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar attributes this to a yearning to belong. "In being shared, superstitions play a socially integrative function, making one feel part of a community."
But the root cause of most superstitions remains fear. "Superstitions stem from our desire to control the future," says mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik. "They make us do things that we might not be able to explain rationally."
Archana Virmani, an event management professional might agree. She consulted an astrologer when relations with her husband soured a year after they married. "The astrologer told me to perform certain pujas," she says. "I went along with whatever he suggested in the hope that the situation might improve, before realizing that things will change only if I worked hard on my relationship."
It is human nature to fall prey to superstitions, says psychiatrist Samir Parikh. "There are many factors that are responsible - cultural and family learning, anxiety related to the important things of life, fear about the untoward, and basically the fact that everything in life is not in our control."
Superstitions assuage anxiety when we are faced with a dangerous unknown, reasons Kakar. "Also, they are constantly evolving. While some get discarded, others get expressed in the language of the times. Thus, the superstitions of youth today will use this language rather than that of the gods and devils of the older generation." A good example of this is e-mail forwards, which claim that good luck would accrue if the message were forwarded to a given number of people, within a specified time. Bhaswati Banerjee, marketing manager of an internet portal, believes there is no harm in this, even though "I know it is superstitious". She reasons that "at the back of the mind, there is also the thought 'why not give it a try?' That's why I end up sending such mails to as many people as I can."
For some, superstitions can be a way of gaining much-needed confidence. Civil services aspirant Shashank Narang says he feels confident about cracking any exam if he wears his 'saibaba amulet.' "I feel positive, charged, and capable of achieving anything," he says. Does that mean superstitions can be beneficial? "It's a placebo effect - if we believe it, then it benefits us," says Pattanaik. "Superstitions, like religion, are based on faith, not fact. But they can also paralyze us - take away our faith in ourselves - make us become crutches without which we cannot function."
'Superstition main reason behind evil customs'
TNN Apr 22, 2012, 01.18AM IST
NAGPUR: In order to enlighten the audience about the never-ending grave issues of honour killing and female foeticide, NGO Dyanyoddha organized a seminar where known poetess and social reformist Indira Kislay spoke about these two social evils. Being blinded by superstitions is the main reason why such evil customs prevail, she reasoned.
"Some Indians tend to believe that the spirit enters the foetus only in the sixth month of pregnancy and any killing before that is non-violent and totally acceptable. Moreover, gold, land and women are considered parts of property in our patriarchal society. In many parts of our country, killing of youth in the name of tradition is considered gratifying," she lamented. Though it is generally assumed that such incidents take place in the poorer sections of the society but in reality, the rich are responsible for most such cases as they have no scarcity of either money or facilities, she added.
Moderator of the seminar, Vijay Mokashi expressed concern over the way in which some of the doctors and private clinics continue flouting the norms by performing sex identification tests. "Wardha alone has around 37 centres where ultrasound and identification is carried out. In total, there are approximately 30,000 such private clinics running in the state," he informed.
The audience mostly consisted of aged and elderly people who kept giving their inputs regarding the issue, raising some interesting questions and discussing. Kislay was unhappy with the fact that despite being important issues, they were only taken up for debate at the social level and no solid action is taken against the offenders.
"Female foeticide is thought to be a personal matter while honour killing is a political one. As a result, the society sits helpless ... going from bad to worse," she said. However, she ended by saying that everybody in the society needs to take small steps towards eradication of such social practices.
Superstitions In Maharashtra and India
People all over the world believe in superstition. Education has hardly anything to do with superstition. Superstition cannot be explained rationally. They are part of our mental makeup and environment. Some superstitions include a belief that the number thirteen is unlucky. Many hotels and buildings in the west do not have rooms or floors numbered thirteen. Another superstition is that one should not walk under a ladder as it brings bad luck to the concerned person. In India, some of common superstition are to postpone or delay an important task or journey if someone sneezes or black cat crosses one's path as one sets out, seeing a dead body while going on an important errand is consider lucky by many peoples.
What are superstition and from where they came? Answer for this question cannot be explained but if we take a close look on the "Hindu" customs there are two parts or two faces of once mind – ' Shraddha and Andhshraddha'. It tells that when one is following the path of the God with his full sacrifice then it is 'shraddha' but when this path is obstructed by rude thoughts of his mind then it becomes 'Andhshraddha'.
Andhshraddha that is superstitions are followed by our forefathers then our father and then by us. we take these thoughts with blindly faith on that thing which other tell us .One of the superstitions in India is that pregnant women should not cut anything at full moon night otherwise it will affect her child developing in her womb. Through today the generation becoming science acceptor but even after that some people in behind the faith of people developing various superstitions which cannot help them anyway. Today we have to take a step forward against these bad rituals made by society like sati, dowry for which women of the society adversely affect even to death.
Maharashtra Superstition Eradication Committee is formed by Dr Narendra Dabholkar in Satara at western Maharashtra. This committee take the campaign against superstition in Maharashtra. This committee had launched several complaint in police station and punishes the man who cheat the innocent people with superstitions. The people in committee create awareness in the village people against false beliefs. Anti-Superstition Bill will passed in the Maharashtra Assembly. By this bill, someone is punishable who claiming he have supernatural powers.
Now ,It is our duty to make people aware about science and their bad thinking of superstitions. This helps us to create new world with developed and widely accepted science technology which in turn leads to the developed Maharashtra and India.
Do not think that you are doing Small,
Think that you are doing something
To change the feelings of generation.
Brand the 'unwanted' as witches and kill them
Resumé of 'INDIAN WITCH HUNT'
(National Geographic documentary)
Witchcraft is still widely believed in and 'practiced' in many backward parts of India. Jharkand in Ranchi has been dubbed 'the witch-killing hub of India' by journalists where women suspected of witchcraft are attacked and not seldom killed. Historians have estimated that, in Europe until the 17th to 18th century, ca. 40,000 women were killed as witches, often by burning at the stake. (The latest well-known witch trials in an industrialised or developed Western country were those at Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.)
In Jharkand, five hundred cases of witch hunts were reported in the 1990s, and they continue to occur. The State ratified an Anti Witch-hunting Law, resulting in 400 arrests since 2000. The journalist Sohaila Kapur - author of "Witchcraft in Western India" followed one headline-grabbing witchcraft killing for National Geographic TV Channel. A teenager, Gurudas Mardi took the severed head of his aunt Maina Mardi to the police station, having cut off her head while she was grazing cattle in her field. The reason he gave was that his eldest brother had contracted a fever and died within one day, his father had died within three years and his elder brother was currently ill in hospital with the same symptoms. Gurudas believed his brother would be cured due to his having killed his aunt as a witch. However, all agreed that Maina had long been as a mother to him. Gurudas was condemned for murder and is currently serving in Ghatasila prison in Jharkand.
There were 7 such cases in Jharkand in as many years. Most accused 'witches' are widows. Mostly, others benefit from their deaths or banishment from their home and property. Part of the witchcraft rationale is that, if prayers can heal at a distance, so can they also harm from afar. The belief in black magic is backed up by practitioners of it, such as - in this case - the Tantric 'guru' Baba Ramashankar of the popular Kali temple at Kamakilija. National Geographic filmed the 'guru' and three female disciples carrying our sacrifice rituals so as to obtain magical powers, including biting the head off a live chicken. The death spells they cast involved use of snakes and scorpions too. The 'guru' stated that the spells can cause love, hate and confusion.
Sohaila Kapur did a follow-up investigation on the deaths in the family which Gurudas Mardi believed due to his aunt's witchcraft. His remaining brother survived due to hospital treatment for TB. The doctor testified that both the father had died from tuberculosis and had infected Gurudas' two brothers.
Further, Sohaila Kapur filmed the local female witch doctor who Gurudas' family had approached and who had pointed the finger at Maina for witchcraft holding a trial in the village temple. While so doing Kapur was approached by a distraught man whose mother was about to be pointed out condemned as a witch by a same witch doctor in the village temple. A big local landowner's daughter was ill and many medicines had failed, so witchcraft was suspected. Because of the TV cameras, the priest dared not to make the announcement that the person was a witch and the villagers backed her up. Instead the witch doctor directed for a tree to be blighted and predicted it would die within two weeks. Of course, no effects on the tree were visible weeks later.
The female victims of witch hunts invariably have to seek police protection and mostly are ostracised and so driven by the villagers to leave their homes and even give up their properties, their houses etc. often being burned to the ground. The harrowing lives they then live is seen clearly in the interviews in the documentary. Inspector Mishra of Jharkand police, who had arrested Gurudas, blamed the widespread ignorance and lack of medical information and care in the area for the locals' reliance on witch-hunting.
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