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MYTHS VS FACTS

India is a Land of diversity and people live here of different caste, creed and culture. Article 25th of the Indian constitution guarantees freedom of religion to all citizens of India. This implies that everyone in India has the right to follow one’s own faith and practice one’s own culture. And, this has been the driving force behind the flourishing of country’s diversity. As, India serves as a home to oldest civilizations, people live here are accustomed to different practices, rituals since centuries. Although, some of these practices, beliefs get modified with the time and seem genuine, others remained hypocritical.

Why does it seem as a proven fact for someone and myth for others?

So, let’s get started about some such myths and the actual facts behind them.

A. Does the sleeping direction has impact on our life expectancy?

Our ancestors were well aware of the directions, and thus they suggested not to keep the head towards north. Scientifically, it is correct to some extent as there are two major magnetic poles of earth i.e., North and South having positive and negative magnetic forces that tend to absorb the energies.

B. Does cutting your nails or using brooms after the sunset brings bad luck and poverty?

The answer is NO. Because it’s quite illogical and the fact hidden is that people in the earlier times didn’t have proper access to adequate light after the sunset. So, sweeping in the dark hours have the high chances of throwing out the worthy things along with the garbage. Also, cutting nails in such dark hours may cause injuries.

C.  Are things read in dawn memorized easily than the other times of day?

Well, scientists have reasoned that early mornings are peaceful and your brain functions sharp after a refreshing night’s sleep. So, reading in dawn helps you to grasp concepts quickly.

D. Why do people anoint Shivaling with milk during Sawan month?

Sawan is the mid rainy season of August in India. There is abnormal growth of grass during this season that contains harmful chemicals and this in turn leads to the contamination of milk as soon as cattle consume it. So, we are advised not to consume milk during this month and instead people use it for anointment.

E. Does hanging a string of lemon and chilli at the entrance of a building wards off evil spirits? 

Keeping aside the evil spirits, let’s concentrate on the fact that capsaicin acid present in chilli and citric acid in lemon reacts with each other to form a germ resistant environment that screens the microbes from entering the home. 

F. Does starting over somewhere new by having Paan supari brings you good luck?

There is no fact associated with it. Moreover, it’s a bad habit because it prompts spitting around. But the logic is that when you are going somewhere with your mouthful, it helps shushing yourself from the unnecessary bantering with strangers, and thus helps you to stay focused. 

G. Having curd and sugar before exams helps you score more in exams?

Seriously, if it was a proven fact then I wouldn’t have been able to do my graduation. The only idea behind it is that the lactic acid in the curd and sugar helps cooling your stomach and produce glucose that helps your body with energy while you are in the exam hall without having food for 3-4 hours. 

There exist many such myths supported by the scientific facts. Whereas, others end up being myths and people don’t even believe them.

Examples:

A. Holding yourself back from journey as soon as someone sneezes near you.

B. Black cat crossing your path while driving brings you bad luck.

Everything can be justified either logically or forcefully. Thus, one needs to analyse, think about the prevailing customs and classify them as a myth or fact.

Edited/ Reviewed By: Tejaswini (MA in Linguistics)

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