Monday, 20 June 2016

Why can’t we do away with the black dots and superstitions?

This pot bearing evil eyes was hung to a sisoo tree to save the gourd climber from evil eyes.

The baby clinging to his mother was annoyed at seeing so many guests. He was trying to get away from his mother’s clutch, forcibly lunging away from her. I could see his feet dangling like a pendulum, swaying from left to right hurriedly to beat the pace of time.

Then I saw something uncommon. Two black dots under his feet – one on each foot!

For Nepalese and our Indian neighbours, it’s a common tradition to ward off the evil eyes. Everyone, whether traditional or modern, illiterate or educated, follows their parents’ footsteps. Almost blindly!

It’s the fear of the unknown evil, so far as I know. If you go by their saying, it keeps away all harmful and bad thought of the onlooker.

And don’t be amazed if you see people putting black dots even over a fruit-bearing tree or a pumpkin creeper. In the southern plains of Nepal, they generally put either a clay pot or a supa/nanglo (bamboo winnowing tray) painted with black and white dots (sometimes circle) representing evil eyes.

Read: Evil eyes 

So, how good is painting black dots over anything you think might be envy of by your neigbours? We blindly follow the traditions without even pondering why we are doing that.

When I saw the babies’ feet and the black dots, I remembered a popular Nepali adage “Kalo biralo badhera saraddhe garnu” meaning tying a black cat to do the yearly rituals of death anniversary.

There’s an interesting incident behind the origin of the adage. A family was doing the rituals of the death anniversary and a pet black cat was sneaking in to lap up the curd, milk and other edibles to be used in the ritual. Being perturbed by the feline’s advances, they tied it up to a pillar nearby and carried out the rituals.

As the years passed, the little boy who had seen his parents tying up the black cat during the rituals searched a similar cat and tied it to a pillar while carrying out the rituals. His son followed the same and tying a black cat became a part of the ritual. And when the black cat was unavailable, it had to be brought from the neighbourhood or even from other villages!

You can no compare the situations. Had not the tradition of putting black dots started in a similar way? You can imagine how one can harm just by gazing at something. It’s no more than a superstition.

Now let me get back to the little child with black dots under his feet. For your information, the mother putting the black dot is a medical doctor and the little boy’s grandmother and grandfather both are well-known doctors as well. In our society, since the doctors are considered the most intelligent people, how can we get rid of these silly traditions when even the ones considered the most intelligent keep on following them blindly?

It’s a point to ponder.