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Gossips and Grahan A commercial angle over Science

Total lunar eclipse generated lot of buzz on social media as netizens kept on posting comments and updated their peers about it. On the other hand, few astrologers and pandits are keen to cash in on this incident by spreading misleading information on social networking sites. Many of them have been forwarding messages on WhatsApp and other social media asking people to take various precautions during the lunar eclipse. From giving bizarre advice to people like asking them to avoid visiting toilets and appealing to pregnant women to refrain from viewing the eclipse as it may harm their health, too much information are being bombarded online. Even predictions of zodiac moon signs were being shared on social media as people became anxious after reading about troubles which they will face as per forecast. Various other advices offered to people include asking them to take bath, offer charity, reciting mantras, having tulsi leaves. The rules dictate that no food should be prepared during eclipse and leftover food should be consumed before its commencement.

Hamid Dabholkar, State Chief Secretary, Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti said that people have remained superstitious abut lunar eclipse since a long period of time. He also said, “When the lunar eclipse occurs, the shadow of planets fall on each other and it is a subject matter related to astronomy. Six months back when the eclipse had occurred, a pregnant woman didn’t undergo treatment as she passed away. Strict action must be taken against those who are spreading false rumours about lunar eclipse. Our organisation is creating awareness in this regard among citizens.”

At a time when our nation is making rapid advancement in the field of technology, some astrologers are spreading rumours about lunar eclipse. The Maharashtra government had passed the Anti-Superstition Bill to curb practices like black magic but the law is proving ineffective to take action against those who are spreading misleading information among citizens.

Journalist Nilesh Khare said that it’s the duty of journalists to clear all these superstitions. He said, “Currently I am working on a programme called ‘Viral Subject’, in this we are trying to counter those subjects which have become viral and we are showing that it is not true. We are interviewing people belonging to various professions to support our claim and asking people to refrain from believing in false rumours. To counter such things, we have to use various platforms like social media, websites and television.”

“I feel that many channels are not performing their duties amicably and are trying to create such speculations in the minds of viewers. Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti has created a template on social media to create awareness among citizens to stop believing in rumours spread about lunar eclipse,” he added.

Total lunar eclipse is coinciding with Supermoon and a blue moon as well. The event is being termed as a ‘Super Blue Blood Moon’ and is a rare lunar event for star-gazers.

According to actor Pradeep Welankar, the solar system does have affect on human lives. He said, “It is a science but people are not fully aware about it. Astrologers have less knowledge about it but they pretend to know everything. There are very few astrologers who have thorough knowledge about astrology.”

When AV spoke to Gramopadhye Govind Joshi, he said, “My guru had sent me these messages and I had forwarded it to others on social media. It is as per shastras.”

Indians have a tendency to visit astrologers to know about their fate and seek their advice to attain success in career and have peaceful marital life. Astrologers often take advantage of this situation and offer advice to their clients and ask them to shell out lump sum money for it. People blindly follow the advice offered to them without questioning about its authenticity.

On the other hand, Pandit Hari Om Shastri said that people can’t say that every message sent by astrologers is false as some of them are authentic. He said, “Pregnant women must not step out of their house when solar or lunar eclipse occurs. Since Rahu and Ketu come together, it may affect their foetus health. Even the level of sea water rises during eclipse. People have a tendency to blow a small issue out of proportion and they should not over react.”

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