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Why do Indians still believe in superstitious beliefs and rituals?

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prasad1

prasad1

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Psychologists and anthropologists suggest that individuals who follow superstitious practices do so to cope with misfortune and uncertainty and to make sense of a complex world.

Other research has suggested that superstitious beliefs can endure if the probability of them being exposed as untrue is low. If there is always some chance of a bad outcome when following superstition and some chance of a good outcome when not, an individual might never realise that it is untrue and continue to follow it.

Whatever the reasoning, given its potential impact on human and economic development, understanding and quantifying the impact superstition has on our economic lives is important for a variety of reasons, especially in guiding and developing policy.

In particular it can help measure the benefits from investing in education, to the extent that such investment reduces the tendency to follow superstitious practices, as well as developing skills and building knowledge.

Given the essential role of well-functioning asset markets in economic development, it is also important to gauge the impact, if any, that superstition has on those markets.

For example, if superstitious beliefs affect price signals, the allocation of resources may be distorted, with negative implications for welfare and economic growth.

One recent academic study for example examined IPOs on the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges in China between 1991 and 2005 where listed companies are identified by a numerical code.

The study found that, consistent with Chinese superstition over the numbers eight and four, newly listed, ostensibly "lucky" shares (i.e. with codes that included at least one lucky digit and no unlucky digit) initially traded at a premium.

That "luck", however, was found not to be permanent with the premium dissipating within three years.http://thinkbusiness.nus.edu/articles/item/251-the-impact-of-superstition-writing-on-the-wall
 
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V.Balasubramani

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Is there any country under the sun where there is no belief for superstitions...?

Now let us see how superstitions practiced across different countries...

Superstitions across different countries – An Overview


What is a superstition?

Some believe that a superstition is anything that people believe that is based on myth, magic, or irrational thoughts. They are beliefs that are steeped in lore or tradition, and it is usually difficult to pinpoint the exact origin.
Superstitions are also known as old wives’ tales, legends, and traditions. They may involve animals, graveyards, ghosts, inanimate objects, or even other people.
Superstition is also believed to be a credulous belief or notion, not based on reason, knowledge or experience. The word is often used negatively to refer to folk beliefs which are deemed to be irrational.
Here is a brief compilation of Superstitions which are prevalent across different countries.

China


During Chinese New year
· On the stroke of midnight, every door and window in the house has to be opened to allow the old year to go out is one of the Chinese superstition they adhere to.
· Many people also abstain from eating meat on the first day of Chinese New Year because it is believed that this will ensure a long and happy life. Some may eat a whole fish, that represents togetherness and abundance, or a chicken with its head and feet intact, which symbolizes prosperity.
· Any noodles in your bowl should be left uncut, as a sign of long life. Plants and flowers also play a significant role in symbolizing rebirth and new growth. A home is thought to be lucky if a plant blooms on New Year’s Day, as this foretells the start of a prosperous year.
· All debts had to be paid by this time. Nothing should be lent on this day, as anyone who does will be lending all the year.
· Everyone should refrain from using foul language and bad or unlucky words. Negative terms and the word “four”, sounding like the word for death, are not to be uttered. Death and dying are never mentioned and ghost stories are totally taboo. References to the past year are also avoided as everything should be turned toward the New Year and a new beginning.
· If you cry on New Year’s Day, you will cry all through the year. Therefore, children are tolerated and are not spanked, even though they are mischievous.
· On New Year’s Day, you are not supposed to wash your hair because it would mean you would have washed away good luck for the New Year.
· Red clothing is preferred during this festive occasion. Red is considered a bright, happy color, sure to bring the wearer a sunny and bright future. It is believed that appearance and attitude during New Year’s sets the tone for the rest of the year. Children and unmarried friends, as well as close relatives are given little red envelopes with crisp one dollar bills inserted, for good fortune.
· The first person one meets and the first words heard are significant as to what the fortunes would be for the entire year. It is a lucky sign to see or hear songbirds or red-colored birds or swallows.
· It is considered unlucky to greet anyone in their bedroom so that is why everyone, even the sick, should get dressed and sit in the living room.
· Do not use knives or scissors on New Year’s Day as this may cut off fortune.
General Chinese superstitions:
When having a baby
· If you’re pregnant, use of glue will cause a difficult birth.
· If you strike an animal during pregnancy, the newborn child will look like that animal and behave like one.
· You should never praise a newborn baby because it will invite evil spirits and ghosts.
· A concave navel means a prosperous life.
· A baby with more than one hair crown will be mischievous and disobedient.
· A baby with wide and thick ears will live prosperously.
Before you get married
· Wedding clothes should be red, yellow and/or white.
· Couples with the same surname cannot marry; even if they are not related, they still belong to the same ancestry.
· A boy, preferably born a Dragon, must roll over the newlywed’s matrimonial bed to ensure good luck and a baby boy.
· Never marry someone who is older or younger by 3 or 6 years.
Good Feng Shui
· The number of steps in a staircase should be even-numbered.
· It is bad luck to have two room doors face each other.
· It is bad luck if your door or gate directly faces a road.
· Don’t build your house facing the north.
· The master’s bedroom should not be situated right above the garage.
· The dining area should not be under a second-floor toilet.
Going to funerals
· An improper funeral will bring ill fortune and disaster.
· Statues of deities must be covered with red cloth of paper.
· Mirrors must be hidden; a person who sees the reflection of the coffin will have a death in his/her family.
· White cloth must be hung across the doorway of the house.
· The deceased’s children and grandchildren should not cut their hair for 49 days.
· After leaving the place, do not go straight home lest the ghost of the dead follows you.
Lucky and unlucky colors
· Red is the color of blood or life and will bring happiness, wealth, fame, and good luck.
· Black is the color of feces and is associated with evil, disaster and bad fortune.
· White is the color of mother’s milk. It symbolizes moderation, purity, honesty and life and balances red and black.
Lucky and unlucky numbers
· The luckiest number is eight because its Chinese word also means “prosper”.
· The unluckiest number is four as it sounds like the Chinese word for death.
· Seven can also signify death.
· The number one means loneliness.
· The number “9” is good, because nine in Cantonese sounds like the word “sufficient”.

About time
· Clipping toenails or fingernails at night is bad luck; the person will be visited by a ghost.
· If a dog howls continuously at night, this means death.
· Hearing a crow cawing between 3 and 7 am means the hearer will receive gifts; hearing a crow caw between 7 and 11am means rain and wind; and between 11am and 1pm means quarrels.
· If a man’s ears burn between 11pm and 1pm, there will be harmony between him and his wife; if they burn between 1 and 3 in the afternoon, a guest will soon arrive.
Things you should never do
· Beating a person with a broom will rain bad luck upon that person for years.
· Wearing a moustache is considered bad luck.
· Never point at the moon or your ears might get chopped off.
· Don’t sweep the floor on New Year’s Day lest you sweep away the good fortune.
· Don’t keep a pet turtle or it will slow down your business.
While many Chinese people today may not believe in these dos and don’ts, these Chinese superstitions (by the name of “traditions” and “customs”) are still practiced. They are kept because most families realize that it is these “old stuffs”, whether believed or not, that provide continuity with the past and provide the family with an identity.

Greece:

· Although some of the Greeks believe that it brings bad luck to kill a bat, but keeping a bat bone is considered to protect them from evil eye.
· Other Islanders believe quite the opposite. They think that bats are unholy creatures and should be avoided at all costs, and would never dream of carrying a piece of one as a talisman.
· Every typical Greek house has a cactus growing near its door – they believe that it saves them from troubles.
· Any Greek knows that if he sneezes, somebody thinks about him.
· Bread is considered a gift from God.No bread is ever thrown away.
· Crows are considered omens of bad news, misfortune and death.
· The most commonly talked about ancient superstition in the Greek Isles are the evil eyes which can strike at any given moment. . Blue is the colour that wards off the evil of the eye, but it is also commonly thought that blue eyed people are exceptional givers of it. So beware when a blue eyed person pays you a compliment, according to the superstition, it could be disastrous.
· Another way to ward off the evil eye is with garlic.If you can’t brave the smell of garlic, there is an alternative. When you get a compliment remember to say ‘Skorda (garlic)’ under your breath and spit three times on your own person. If you know the individual that is complimenting you, tell them to spit on you too.
· Fish are believed to be wise and knowledgeable. But the Church also sees the fish as a revered symbol of silence. Fish don’t speak or make noise.
· It is thought that garlic not only wards off the evil eye but also keeps away evil spirits and demons.
· Never hand some one a knife. Set it down and let them pick it up, or else you will get into a fight with that person.
· Greeks believe that Money attracts money, so never leave your pockets, purses or wallets completely empty and never completely empty your bank account. Always leave at least a coin or two. It is also considered good luck that when you give a gift of a wallet or a purse, that you put a coin or two in it before giving it to the recipient.
· Greek Orthodox priests are very revered. When greeting one, it is customary to kiss his hand or ring in respect. But it’s considered a bad omen to see one walking in the street, and most folk whisper ‘Skorda (garlic)’ under their breath.
· We are all familiar with the superstition of throwing salt over our left shoulder to repel evil or a demon. In Greek Folklore, salt can be used to get rid of an unwanted human presence as well.
· If you have an unwanted guest in your home and you want them to leave. All you have to do is sprinkle salt behind them. The powers of the salt will chase him out.
· It is also customary to sprinkle salt in a new home before you occupy it, as the salt will drive any evil out and away from you and your family.
· Overturned shoes (soles up) are considered very bad luck and even omens of death. Never let your shoes lay upside down. If you accidentally take them off and they land soles up, turn them over immediately and say ‘Skorda (garlic)’ and a spit or two won’t hurt either.
· Greeks spit for a number of superstitious reasons. The most common is to keep evil away from you. For example, if you hear of some one speaking of misfortune or bad news, and fear the possibility of the same thing happening to you, you would spit three times on your own person.
· Talismans or ‘Filahta’ are regularly used in Greece. Most commonly you will see these charms pinned to the backs of small children’s and infant’s clothing. But you will also find that many of the older people carry them in their pockets and purses or have them discretely pinned to their clothing too.
· Different from Western cultures, it is Tuesday the 13th of the month that is considered unlucky in Greece and not Friday the 13th.

UK

· In UK it is believed that you would be lucky if you meet a black cat.
· Unlucky are those who break a mirror, see a crow.
· Not one Englishman will open his umbrella near the door or will put his new shoes on the table.

Ireland

· Any Irish knows that a werewolf is afraid of water.
· The Irish place metals on high levels. Blacksmithers are respected, since they are considered to dispose of bad spirits and diseases.

Italy

· Italians think you’re lucky to hear a cat sneezing.
· It’s not good if a bird enters through your window.
· If an Italian sees a nun, he will seek to touch a metal, so that the luck doesn’t leave him.

Japan

· Japanese are afraid to be photoed in three. The one from the middle is expected to die. For avoiding misfortune, Japanese will not talk to man who talks while sleeping.
· If you play with fire, you will wet your bed.
· If you rest just after eating, you will become a cow/pig/elephant.
· If you whistle or play a flute at night, snakes will come to you.
· A cold mid-section will cause diarrhea
· The first dream of a new year will come true
· Breaking a comb or the cloth strap of a “geta” wooden sandal breaking is an omen of misfortune.
· Stepping on the cloth border of a tatami mat brings bad luck.
· If you drive past a funeral, you must hide your thumb in a fist. This is because the Japanese word for thumb literally translates as “parent-finger” and hiding it is considered protection for your parent. If you don’t, your parent will die.
· There are several unlucky numbers in Japanese. Traditionally, 4 and 9 are unlucky. Four is sometimes pronounced shi, which is also the word for death.
· Nine is also sometimes pronounced ku, which can mean suffering.
· 13 is also occasionally thought of as unlucky, although this is imported from Western culture. Because of these unlucky numbers, sometimes levels or rooms with 4 or 9 in them don’t exist in hospitals or hotels, and particularly in the maternity section of a hospital, the room number 43 is avoided because it can literally mean “still birth.” Therefore, when giving gifts such as sets of plates, they are normally sets of three or five, never four.
· If you go to a funeral, you should throw spread salt over yourself before entering your home. This is believed to be cleansing.
· You should never sleep with your head in North position or you will have a short life
· Chopsticks should not be stuck upright into food, especially rice. Chopsticks are only stuck upright into rice in the bowl on the altar at a funeral.
· Cutting your fingernails or toenails at night is bad luck. If you do so, it is believed that you will not be with your parents at their deathbed.
· You should never write a person’s name in red ink
· Use of the Maneki Neko or “lucky cat.” Many businesses such as shops or restaurants have figures of such beckoning cats. These are considered to be lucky and bring in money and fortune.
· If u see a spider in the morning, it means good luck so you shouldn’t kill it, but if you see one at night, it means bad luck so you can kill it.
· If you catch a crow’s eyes, something bad will happen.
· If a black cat crosses your path, something bad will happen.

Thailand

· People born on:
Sunday, aviod doing anything auspicious on a Friday.
Monday, aviod doing anything auspicious on a Sunday.
Tuesday, aviod doing anything auspicious on a Monday.
Wednesday, aviod doing anything auspicious on a Tuesday.
Thursday, aviod doing anything auspicious on a Saturday.
Friday, aviod doing anything auspicious on a Wednesday.
Saturday, aviod doing anything auspicious on a Wednesday at nighttime.
· Another auspicious occasion is the choosing of a Thai name. Most people consult an astrologer or monk to select a name that will bring the child good fortune, health and happiness.
· If you make jokes when eating a ghost will steal your rice
· A ghost will enter your house if you stand in the doorway
· A ghost will curse you if you sing while eating
· You will see a ghost if you bend down and look between your legs

Read more at: http://dazeinfo.com/2010/06/22/superstitions-across-different-countries-an-overview/
 
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prasad1

prasad1

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Lucky homes

Returning to the example of Singapore, studying the effect of superstition on housing prices in the city offers a good case for measuring the magnitude and economic impact of superstitious practice.

Not only does Singapore's ethnic make-up offer an ideal cultural mix for such a study, but government regulations specifically prohibit omitting sequential numbers in floor and unit numbers, or any kind of selective numbering more desirable properties.

In our research we examined how traditional perceptions of lucky and unlucky numbers – 8s and 4s – affect new sales in the city's housing market.

In advanced economies more people buy homes than invest in other assets like equities, so investigating the effect of superstitious beliefs on the pricing of residential property gives a broad view on their impact.

http://thinkbusiness.nus.edu/articles/item/251-the-impact-of-superstition-writing-on-the-wall
 
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V.Balasubramani

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All superstitions are not bad.... there are good ones too......

Indian Beliefs and Superstitions


Updated on April 18, 2016

India Beliefs


Indian beliefs and superstitions are passed down from generation to generation.These faiths have sprung with an objective to protect from evil spirits, but some were based on scientific reasoning. Astrology is an integral part of Indian culture. Even today many people prefer to do good things such as entering a newly made home (Gruhapravesha) , fixing a marriage proposal, fixing a marriage date, entry of a bride to her new home, starting a new business etc, according to their astrological belief.

Excerpts:

Superstitions considered Good in India


These are some of the superstitions which are considered as good omen.

· While one is going out of the house and see a married lady with flowers on her head and kumkum on her forehead it is believed that the trip will be successful.

· If you see an elephant on your way while going somewhere, your purpose of going will be fruitful. It is believed that Lord Ganesh, the elephant God of Indian mythology, removes all the obstacles on the way.
· Seeing a peacock on a journey is also considered lucky.
· If you notice a crow cowing near your house you are likely to get visitors to your house.
· Eating sweet curd before exams brings good luck.
· If the girl's horoscope is matching well with the boy's horoscope, when they get married, they will have a successful married life.
· When a discussion is going on if you hear a lizard making a noise on the ceiling or on the wall, it is a good omen to let you know that it is true.
· There is also a strong belief in the power of dreams, as divine warnings. Dreaming of gods, demons, auspicious animals or any other auspicious thing is good.
· Continuous hiccups are considered a sign of someone close badly remembering you.
· Mirror, a pot full of water, flag, light, a pair of fish and turmeric are auspicious articles. On getting up from the bed in the early morning, if a person is lucky to see any of these auspicious articles it will bring him good luck . He is also fortunate if he sees first a lotus flower, gold, the ruler, light, the sun, fire, the sea, a temple tower, a hill with signs of rain a cow and a calf, his own right hand, a lunatic, a black monkey, an elephant or a percussion instrument called Mridanga. Seeing his wife's face is also considered a good omen.

· To avoid seeing anything unpleasant in the morning, many people look at the palms of their hands as soon as they awaken and recite this invocation: "In the tips of the fingers resides Goddess Lakshmi; in the middle, Goddess Saraswathi; in the palm of the hand resides Goddess Parvathi; looking at my hands, I begin my day."

· The colour, spots, stripes, chirping or twittering of the lizard and where it falls on a person's body are said to indicate future happenings.

Why do Indians still follow these beliefs?


It is an interesting question. With the progress of science and popular awakening, many of the superstitions have already lost their hold on the minds of the people. But many of them are so deeply rooted that no amount of knowledge or science can weaken their hold or fully shake them off.

Read more at: https://exemplore.com/misc/India-Beliefs-and-Superstitions
 
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V.Balasubramani

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MY VIEW: I Found That 5 Common Superstitions in India Actually Had Logical Explanations!


The Oxford dictionary defines superstition as a widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief. Some of us are superstitious while others find the related practices ridiculous. But believe it or not, many superstitions have some logical explanation behind their origin. Here are a few of them.

1. A cat crossing your path:


I am sure you have heard, or probably even said something like ”Today isn’t going to be a good day for me; a cat just crossed my path.” Have you ever wondered in what possible way can that little creature harm you or bring you ‘bad luck’?
Well, in olden days people used to travel by carts that were pulled by domesticated animals. When passing through forests at night, the carriage animals used to get scared and act chaotic when they sensed wild cats such as leopards, cheetahs, and tigers crossing their path. The travellers warned others not to proceed when a cat passes their path.
Today, this is of no significance and we are afraid of black cats for no reason. Groucho Marx once said “If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”


2. Hanging a lemon and seven green chillies in shops:




superstition2.jpg




Read more at: http://www.thebetterindia.com/51153/explanation-behind-superstitions-in-india/
 

tbs

Well-known member
hi

To avoid seeing anything unpleasant in the morning, many people look at the palms of their hands as soon as they awaken and recite this invocation: "In the tips of the fingers resides Goddess Lakshmi; in the middle, Goddess Saraswathi; in the palm of the hand resides Goddess Parvathi; looking at my hands, I begin my day."


karaagre vasathe lakshmi....karamadhye saraswati....karamoole stithaa gauri......prabhate kara darsanam....
 

auh

New member
In case that being the truth, How could India became one of the handful of nations that reached Mars that too with a highly economic technology than the so called developed nations use?
How could India became the most sort after destination for satellite launch by most of the developed nations?
How could India stand tall with own missile and other defense development technologies?
How could it be possible for India to have access to nuclear technology?
In one of the websites, I read a user's comment that if India could send rocket to Mars, why cannot they manufacture a single indigenous rifle !!!

The following were Indian contributions to the world of Science at such a time when most of the present developed could even start thinking
It is like a pauper saying that "a thousand years ago my family was the royalty in the city of so-and-so, and hence I am rich now".
 

Vaagmi

Well-known member
In one of the websites, I read a user's comment that if India could send rocket to Mars, why cannot they manufacture a single indigenous rifle !!!

The user's silly comment has an answer if he had cared to find out. India is not making a new rifle right from nut, bolt, but and rifled bore and patent it because it is far more easier to move ahead with a wheel rather than inventing it all the way again. Stupid, it is economics simple and straight. LOL.

It is like a pauper saying that "a thousand years ago my family was the royalty in the city of so-and-so, and hence I am rich now".

If you search for the members of the Mughal dynasty alive today, you may find just a butcher slaughtering goats and bulls in the bylanes of Old Delhi. That does not take away the fact that his forefathers built the Taj Mahal. He has every right to claim that he comes in the family of such a dynasty.
 

auh

New member
Cannot agree with the premise of the opening post.
Each country is unique with its own contributions to the world and its own set of issues.

There are obvious superstitions and there are more sophisticated superstitions. But they are all one and the same.

It is possible to make a detailed list of western superstitions which have had enormous negative effect on the whole world. What is the point in doing it. There is no need to do any comparisons.

Human beings have the capacity to imagine and superstitions reflect that capacity.

India's contributions to the world in the art of thinking objectively is tremendous. For many historical reasons there is poverty and the powerful are exploiting the poor like everywhere else except they use feudal means. All this will change in the next 50 years or so propelling India into a world power.

So superstition reflects an ability to imagine. Great.

Obvious superstitions and more sophisticated superstitions are all one and the same. Marvellous.

---------------

Sample some:

1) Sighting a lone brahmin is considered inauspicious while going out for work
2) Calling out "where are you going?" when preparing to leave on an errand will produce negative results
3) Sighting a dead body when going out on a project is considered good
4) Seeing a widow is inauspicious when going out
5) Sneezing when talking about a good thing is considered bad omen (IDK, if sneezing when talking about a bad thing is considered a good omen)
6) Scattering finger-nails on the floor is bad since anybody who steps on them would antagonize you
7) Taking or giving salt by hand is bad and it would lead to fights
8) Spilling milk is bad omen
9) Spilling kumkum is good sign
 

auh

New member
The user's silly comment has an answer if he had cared to find out. India is not making a new rifle right from nut, bolt, but and rifled bore and patent it because it is far more easier to move ahead with a wheel rather than inventing it all the way again. Stupid, it is economics simple and straight. LOL.
You are missing the elephant for the stars.

Make in India is an enormous project. If economics were all that matters, we have competitive countries who could floor India for cost. The intent in the user's statement was that India is relying on borrowed technology rather than indigenous know-how.

If you search for the members of the Mughal dynasty alive today, you may find just a butcher slaughtering goats and bulls in the bylanes of Old Delhi. That does not take away the fact that his forefathers built the Taj Mahal. He has every right to claim that he comes in the family of such a dynasty.
Again, that is not the point is it. You are just rephrasing my sentence with a different example while conveniently missing the intent.

Speaking about lost glory does not place one on a pedestal.
 
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one of the South Indian Tamil scientists by name Meyya. Meyyappan might be from South Tamilnadu Nattukkottai Nagarathaar family as the name implicitly pronounced Meyyappan and more such name in that family.
 

Vaagmi

Well-known member
You are missing the elephant for the stars.

Make in India is an enormous project. If economics were all that matters, we have competitive countries who could floor India for cost. The intent in the user's statement was that India is relying on borrowed technology rather than indigenous know-how.

There is no elephant or star. Borrowed technology makes economic sense. That is the point I am driving at. There is no need to reinvent everything in India. We can make use of borrowed technology to produce in India and sell. Indigenous know how is not an exclusive privilege of a few countries. India too can and does invent. It is not such a bad situation as yet that Indian Engineers are all just mechanics and indian scientists are all just lab technicians. Borrowed technology does ,make excellant commercial sense many times. where is the elephant in all this and where are the stars?

The user may be ignorant of the fact that there is a rifle called Ishapore Automatic rifle which is in use with Indian Army. It is fully Indian--if I may call it that. So your user was parading his ignorance in his anxiety to perhaps score a point or two from an ignorant crowd.

Your user should know that a country which makes cryogenic Rocket engines can also make good rifles. Ask the User to go brush up his knowledge of India.


Again, that is not the point is it. You are just rephrasing my sentence with a different example while conveniently missing the intent. Speaking about lost glory does not place one on a pedestal.

I did not get the impression reading the post that any one was trying to claim a seat in any pedestal. He was only recalling his country's excellant credentials. And that is not a mistake.
 
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prasad1

prasad1

Gold Member
Gold Member
Indian are superstitious. Superstitions, is one of the cause, that they are not able to reach their potential in the physical and industrial world.
Srinvasa Ramanujam would have been comfortable and thriving in England if he did not have these superstitions.

In any case, foreign travel was impossible. Kumbakonam was a place where culture and religion were completely intertwined. Ramanujan was a Brahmin, the caste of priests and intellectuals; a Vaishnavite, who regarded Vishnu as god over all and who worshiped his local avatar, Narasimha; and an Iyengar who kept to a complex diet that prohibited all meat, but also cheese, onions, salt, rice on some days, food of any kind on others, and governed who was allowed to prepare his food, and in what state of ceremonial purity, and with whom he was allowed to eat. To live abroad would be to abandon this web of identity. It would be an act of self-destruction, a form of suicide, really.

I do know that people miss opportunities in this world, expecting greater results elsewhere. They may be right. But they are losers in this world. I feel that Indians would prosper economically if they overcome their superstitions.
Please do not point out that others too are superstitious.
 
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