Are Indians a superstitious lot? Here are 9 prominent and quirky 'totkas' that people believe in

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 - 6:15pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna webdesk

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It is often said that, beliefs are a personal entity. But in a complex society like ours, irrational beliefs are rubbed onto us at a very young age.

Many of us are forced to believe in them and no explanations are given whatsoever and neither are verifications made.

 Just blindly follow, because our grandmothers and mothers tell them. Soon millions of us start following these superstitious guidelines and then it becomes a part of our culture. But, some rational-minded and just individuals do walk a different path and follow scientific explanations and abhor 'totkas', but that populace is anyways miniscule.

Surprisingly even our daily soaps and films display superstitious practices in their sequences. Scenes wherein a person going for an interview is fed forcefully with 'Dahi-Shakkar' (curd and sugar) by his mother, assuming it will bring him 'good luck' is something most of us might have come across. So basically if I had to believe in that, every person cracking job interviews easily, surely consumed the 'dahi-shakkar' delicacy and this is behind his achievement. It is purely not based on his efforts and intelligence.

It has almost been a year after a very great social activist from our country was brutally murdered for standing up and raising his voice fighting against 'Superstition in India'. 

Narendra Dabholkar, founder of the 25-year old anti-superstition organisation 'Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti' was shot by two unidentified gunmen. The suspicion for his murder revoles around the 'Anti-superstition and Black Magic Act', a bill that Dabholkar made several attempts to pass through the court. He faced major opposition from Hindu right wing parties like BJP and Shiv Sena who claimed that passing the bill would affect Hindu culture, customs and traditions. The very fact that a rational human like him who questioned irrational practices and beliefs was severely criticised in his lifetime and labelled 'devil' by the people, is something, we as a nation should be ashamed of.

Here are 9 bizzare Indian superstitions we might be very familiar with

1) The very famous Kala (Black) Tika.

We are surely familiar with this one. The 'Kala Tika' which has the immense power to ward of evil eye. Indian babies having their face imprinted with multiple black bindis is a very common sight. A majority of us must have been through mummyji's makeup session at childhood, go dig into your childhood pictures and count the number of tikkas or bindis you had on that face of yours.

2) The superstition around scratchy fingers/nose

So friend, if you sense an itch in your nose, it isn't the dust in the air which is giving you that feeling. It is the sign that something really bad is going to happen. While on the other hand if you are having an itchy palm, it signifies that you are are going to be wealthy, my friend. Because money will pour in they say, so start making your shopping list.

3) Cats are 'Evil' and Black Cats should not cross your path

Ever wondered why this poor animal has to be accused of bringing bad luck if s/he crosses your path. Poor kitty, we feel sorry for you, but you are evil because that's what my uncle said.

4) Trimming nails needs prior scheduling

Trimming your nails is strictly not to be done at night or on Saturdays, for this could bring you bad luck. Ensuring that you only cut your nails short or touch the nail-cutter during the day will keep your life happy and good luck would be pouring in.

5) The Nimbu-Mirchi (lemon-chilli) Totem

Ever wondered how a totem of lemon, chilli and coal can avert the believed-to-be-existing evil eye, the very reason people hand this totem outside their homes, shops or on their vehicles. Maybe it is the sourness and the spice in the trio that keeps the evil eye from coming closer to the house and bringing bad luck, pun intended.

6) Watchout for Saturdays, they are evil too

Auspicious occasions should not be scheduled for Saturday as they are evil because of their association with the planet 'Saturn' (Shani). Getting a haircut on a Saturday will ensure that you never get richer. Marriages on Saturdays can result in an early death for the couple and the list of evil things that can happen to you is endless.

7) Menstruating women are impure

Women are considered impure while on their periods. Reason for this belief remains unexplained and the belief undoubtedly unjust. 

8) Laugh as much as you cry

If you ever happen to get into a fit of laughter, be careful, it is a sign that you will be getting into a crying fit soon. Most of us will be familiar to this one for sure.

9) Swaying your feet in the air

Swaying your feet in the air can bring in bad luck. The very reason why mothers don't let their children sway their feet even if they are in a play-mode.


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