Nisha Jha

The author is a student of Economics at Patan Multiple Campus, TU.

Published On: March 29, 2020 04:51 PM NPT By: Nisha Jha

Coronavirus and Emerging Superstitions

Coronavirus and Emerging Superstitions

People are turning to superstition more during this coronavirus outbreak.

The news last month that the Bhimsen idol in Dolakha is sweating and it is a sign that ‘something disastrous’ is going to happen in the country. This as a custom required the head of the state to perform a ‘kshama pooja’ to ward off the possibility of something disastrous.

As the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus has affected more than 600 thousand in 199 countries and territories causing deaths of nearly 31 thousand people, Nepal has been spared still. So far Nepal has seen five confirmed cases of the virus but no deaths. It’s a bit of a puzzle how the country next to the epicenter in Wuhan has seemingly remained unscathed so far.

The relative calm has fueled disbelief in the whole nation that the virus is God’s revenge on mankind for all his imprudent actions. Coronavirus is nothing else but a sign of bad omen resulted due to the sweating of Bhimsen idol and here in Nepal, all are so far safe from the disaster as ‘Kshama pooja’ has been offered to the deity as the tradition. Likewise, Pashupatinath and Janaki Mata is halting the virus to prevent us from the worrisome rise of the outbreak.

While the virus may be spreading unseen in Nepal, so more obviously are a raft of irrational beliefs. As the confirmed cases of coronavirus are rising with death tolls globally, so are the rational thinking. The coronavirus has added fuel to the fire. A spate of rumors has been witnessed around since the past days claiming the pandemic is the punishment for humans to modify the traditions and lose faith on God.

In some of the districts in Terai region, including Janakpur, people believed the rumors that hair strands are coming out of the “Durga-Saraswati Path”. It is said that the hair strand should be washed in Gangajal and it should be consumed to cure coronavirus. Surprisingly, a number of people claim to have found hair strands in their “Durga-Saraswati Path”. People have also started to make palm prints of turmeric and sindoor outside their houses to ward off the corona evil.

The infections outbreak have shaped the psyche of humanity. Epidemics and pandemics is propagating fear and erratic behavior here and there. The superstitions, rumors and unscientific temperament among Nepalese have been spreading everywhere. It is a big challenge to identify and debunk these misinformation and provide rationing and scientific evidences to promote scientific temperament in the society.

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