Superstition and Blind Belief in India

From Scientific Temper Promotion Trust, (Reg.No. E-9464, B'bay C/o. Chetana Mudranalaya, Ranade Road, Dadar, Bombay 400 028.

To, The producer, "Aisa Bhi Hota Hai", Post Box No.1452, Bombay 400 038.

Ref. No. STPT/J/14/88 April 3, 1988.

Sir, Your T.V. Serial "Aisa Bhi Hota Hai? is interesting and informative. However, it is essential that the information which is critically analysed, should only be disseminated through the Doordarshan. Such information must be proved to be scientifically valid. It is necessary that, this powerful medium should neither give birth to, nor nurture, nor encourage, nor strengthen superstitions among the masses. These are already in existence widely.

Some portions of the episode No.6, telecast on 3-4-1988, misguided masses by injecting unscientific information into them.

1. In the beginning the viewers were informed about so called effects of moon on "lunatics". Actually this belief, when analysed under CRITICALLY CONTROLLED conditions, has always been proved to be totally false. Many psychiatrists have conducted experiments. You may make enquiries with the Superintendent, Mental Hospital, Thane or Prof. Shridhar Sharma, Director, Central Institute of Psychiatry, Kanke, Ranchi - 834 006, in the matter, to ascertain the truth.

2. Later there was focus on one person, who claims to "sense" under ground water. Such claims of dowsing, finding the under ground water, through some supernatural power, have always been found to be false, when investigated. The episode should have given statistics about success or failure rate of tapping under ground water through dowsing. These persons even fail to detect the water flowing through the network of pipe lines, burried couple of feet deep below the surface of the soil.

3. We fail to notice, why worship of rats at Karni temple was mystified and glorified. We did not find any metaphysical or supernatural phenomena in these events.

There are many personalities and organisations working for years together to eradicate superstitions. We appeal you not to create hurdles in the path of our movement to promote scientific temper and spirit of inquiry and reform - a fundamental duty of all of us. I hope you donot want others to say, "Aise Bhi Andhashraddhako Badhava Dete Hai!"

Thanking you, and hoping to hear from you,

Yours sincerely,
Sd. Dr. Rajeev Joshi.

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