Another name of superstition is blind faith. It dies hard and is born out of many circumstances. In our Sanskritic culture, the pundits and scholars set some taboos or inhibitions of human behaviour. Carrying eggs, oils and many such articles during the journey was regarded as inauspicious. Journeys away from home were strictly confined for the seven days of the week. The newly initiated ‘brahmacharis’brahmcharis’were strictly forbidden to see the face of the lower caste men like the scavengers. These strict rules struck root in the households and were especially so because people were illiterate, unenlightened, orthodox and sometimes dominating. Enlightened intellectuals like Vidyasagar, Rammohan Roy tried to axe these evils. Rabindranath Tagore, even as a child defied such taboos at his ‘upanayana’ ceremony. But in spite of such efforts, they survive even today.
These are not based on common sense, to say, the least. There is a basic difference between ‘common sense and common belief. The latter may harbour superstition or may not. It depends upon the degree of enlightenment within society. But common sense has something to do with reason, logic and argument. It is a healthier tradition. Primitive society and culture followed customs, ritual and traditional practices. But today even rustic or illiterate persons are amenable to reason. They are often prepared to give up their blind and obsolete ideas if they are made to see reason in the changed outlook.
The world today has come much closer. In the longer frame, there is the UNO which has been giving invaluable service in spreading the light of knowledge. Today the NGOs have come up and the literacy campaigns are contributing their mite.
Therefore, it is proved that superstition is an outcome of ignorance. It, sometimes, survives even in scholars and learned and educated persons. An internationally reputed Hindu philosopher may staunchly object to his daughter’s marriage with a fine specimen of a boy who belongs to the opposite community. Even today, intercaste marriages are not easily accepted by parents. A person marrying someone of a different religion has to face a lot of huddles and listen to criticism of society. Earlier women were not allowed to get an education. It was believed that only males can go out and work. Females must stay at home and cook. Their sole responsibility was to go look after her children and family. Moreover, every used to expect the delivery of a male child and girls were considered to be unlucky. Sati was a practice where the widow had to burn herself with his dead husband. These are all superstitions that existed years back. When a black cat crosses a road it is still considered to be unlucky and bad. When the world is getting updated it is sad that we are still haunted by these superstitions.
To conclude, superstition is a sequel to fear for the unseen. It seems extremely difficult to erase out from the minds all the considerations of a nameless fear, although it is not an unattainable ideal or objective. Rabindranath Tagore did his devout, though not uncritical, champion Abu Syyeed Auyub.