Religion is another name for absurdity for those who make mockery and those who make it as a tool to create hate. It is always against human progress and divides human beings into different groups by undermining the value of brotherhood. It is always against human ingenuity and charitable values. It only creates adversaries and outcasts. It boasts about holding high values, but never practices it. It only promotes collective selfishness and greed. After watching Aamir Khan’s PK, I still do not understand why people are making hullabaloo about that movie. Really, this movie has raised those questions, which every god fearing human beings are holding in the corner of its mind. A belief in good or bad luck is an integral part of lives of many Indians. Number of ways of avoiding misfortunes have evolved over the centuries, according to religious basis.
Indian will avoid boarding on new ventures during the waning phase of the moon. Coupled with this, every day of the week has a 90-minute period, Rahu Kaalam, which is ill-starred. It is considered bad luck to see a single Brahmin or Hindu priest if you are going out of the house. This superstition originated from the fact that a single priest performs the Hindu death ceremonies. Sitting down and drinking a sip of water neutralises the bad luck. In fact, if any person is due to depart for a journey, it is not uncommon for a married lady of that household to walk in the opposite direction as a good luck sign to ensure their safe return. Similarly, overhearing a sneeze is inauspicious when stepping out on a task, whilst meeting a married woman carrying water, curd or milk is a good sign.
Have you seen people stepping on a piece of paper, a book or accidentally another person’s foot and then performing a brief pranam with one hand – a prayer gesture offered as an apology? As these objects are symbols of Goddess Saraswathi, stepping on them would amount to stepping on her. Another superstition says it is auspicious to step into any new property or office with the right foot first. Even an illiterate person who never touched books will do so.
Ominously, a lizard falling on someone’s head is a sign of impending bad luck or even death. Lighting a lamp must be done with no negative emotions as the lamp shows the onlooker the path of life. It is believed that smelling flowers before offering them to God robs them of their fragrance. Likewise, food offerings are not tasted before being given to God. Colours influence superstitions too. While white or black (the colours of mourning) are not worn for weddings, red and yellow bring luck, that’s why traditional Indian women wear red bindis on their forehead.
To remove evils, or to start any new venture, we break coconut on different occasions. A newly wedded bride and groom are put inside a coconut circle and burn camphor. After that, they break that coconut outside the house to destroy the evil. On new moon, people smash pumpkins on the road to ward off evil, whilst lemons and chillis are hanged on house entrances and on vehicles in the north to avoid any unfortunate act. Mother puts a black dot on her child’s cheek as a sign of imperfection to ward off the evil eye. Similarly, effigies of ugly scarecrows are put on construction sites to distract birds from tarnishing the beauty of the building. On completion of the work, the effigy will be taken down, beaten and burnt.
There is a popular belief that we should not cut hair on certain weekdays. This practice seems irrelevant to me. There is no reason for all these superstitions but if you try to get answers then your efforts will go in vain. Most of the answers you will find irrelevant scientifically. From birth to grave, these superstitions will chase you. It is imbibed in us through our legacy. We are forced to follow them religiously. As we grow with this, it’s become a part of our life style. Probably, we wake up after watching movies like PK.
Movies are one of the many mediums of expression and communication. Consequently, they too enjoy the freedom as provided under the Article 19 of Constitution of India. However, point is that this fundamental right is not absolute. Freedom of Expression of each individual under the said article is overlapping and there is bound to emerge discord when expressions take opposite sides. Movies too should deal cautiously with sensitive issues particularly about matters concerning religion in emerging countries like India. Many Hindu organisations and political support groups are outraged with the movie.
Fortunately, LK Advani has endorsed the film, “PK”, as “wonderful and courageous”, adding that everybody should see it. The UP government has made it ‘Tax Free’. However, activists of the Bajrang Dal and VHP have vandalised theatres and multiplexes in several states. They have demanded a ban on the film which, they claim, portrays organised religion and god men in a bad light. Baba Ramdev has urged Hindus to unite and protest against the film. Whether or not Aamir Khan has exposed the reality behind idol worship and fake Babas can be examined in film reviews. PK truly brings to light the issue we are facing these days. People should have acceptance and open mindedness to deal with these issues and get educated. If we notice, Hindu religion is not about superstition, and people who are creating violence and chaos, they are not our religion’s representatives.