ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ill Effects of Superstitions


On the night of Diwali, 14 November 2020, a seven-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur district was kidnapped and sexually assaulted before she was murdered by two men, who were allegedly paid by one of their relatives to get the child’s liver for tantric practices. According to the police, as per media reports, the relatives had been childless since their marriage in 1999 and were of the view that tantric practices that included eating the girl’s liver would help them have a child.

The incident is a plain case of illiteracy, bad shamanism, damaged cognition and emotional instability. The acceptance of superstitions and trust in magic leads to the belief in paranormal healing claimed and normalised by fake shamans and believed by many. There are many sociological factors responsible for it—regional beliefs, local population structure and social influences—as well as the belief in the powers of paranormal beings in solving problems of human beings. There is a social construction of myths and mythical creatures and a belief in devils, demons, ghosts, djinns and evil spirits who demand human sacrifice to solve human problems. People believe that such practices are to be followed silently and not questioned or analysed on scientific lines. Resultantly, the practitioners of such faiths even exploit childless women sexually under the pretext of curing their infertility. More often than not, these practices even encourage witch-hunting and witchcraft trials that further abuse women. It is noteworthy to mention that every year, witch-hunting takes many innocent lives in India. Women are humiliated, sexually assaulted and even beaten to death.

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