The Optimist Citizen

Two 17 year old students are breaking the taboos of superstition in India

You must have seen people believing in superstitions like not crossing a path walked by a cat, not walking over a black cloth lying on the road, believing that waking up to the sight of a pair of mynah birds on a tree branch would bring them luck, and so on. Apparently peculiar, but these unreasonable practices have prevailed in the Indian society for centuries.

Ever wondered what makes people follow these blindly? Ever wondered if these superstitious practices are logical? Ever questioned their legitimacy?

Rahul Mahato, a 17 year old boy of Kasidih High School in Jamshedpur was also a strong believer of such superstitions. Influenced by his family and community, he also believed, that ignorance of these superstitions will lead to bad consequences. This fear compelled him to unreasonably believe and follow those practices, until he became a part of a campaign Samvidhan LIVE.

As the name suggests, this nationwide campaign initiated by Commutiny – The Youth Collective and facilitated by 24 partner organisations across 15 states, intends to sensitize the nation’s youth to develop a true understanding of the Indian Constitution, not just by reading about it in textbooks in classrooms, but by actually living it, by practically exercising one’s fundamental rights and duties. It was only when Rahul got to know that one of his fundamental duties, as a citizen of Indian nation, is ‘to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform’, that he decided to live without practising five of his superstitious beliefs for a week. He was amazed to see that this ignorance towards his superstitions did not bring any bad consequences. It was only then that he realized that one should not unquestioningly follow any belief and should always have a rational outlook for everything that comes to him.

This live action task done through the Samvidhan LIVE campaign made him adopt one of his essential fundamental duties and make use of it in his daily life. To disseminate this learning to a wider mass, Rahul and his friend Raj took this to their school and designed a task around it. A lot of their friends and teachers took up the task in which they identified five superstitions that they used to follow regularly, lived without those for a week and wrote three testimonials verifying their acts. This is how Rahul and Raj were successful in sensitizing their fellows to develop an attitude to question, inquire and develop a scientific temper.

Rahul and Raj were introduced to the campaign by ‘People For Change’, one of the partner organisations of Commutiny – The Youth Collective facilitating Samvidhan LIVE-The Jagrik Project in Jamshedpur. They have also got tremendous positive response from the principal of Kasidih High School and the campaign is taking successful leaps towards reaching its goal day by day.

With this remarkable task of ‘living without superstitions’, Samvidhan LIVE has indeed been successful in reaping some rational and critical youngsters, that the nation needs as leaders for tomorrow.


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