Superstition – Science Conundrum.

Posted by Sai Krishna
April 20, 2017


I happened to watch this amazing TEDx talk by Sinu Joseph.  She spoke at length about the condition of Menstrual health in India. Well,  we do have a pre-conceived notion that this would be pretty bad. Our limited knowledge allows us to reach this conclusion because of the fact that 88% of the menstruating Indian women can’t afford sanitary pads. But what the research told is completely different from what we think. Click here to watch this amazing talk on Menstrual Health in India by Sinu Joseph.

I was astonished to know that the menstrual health of Indian women,  especially rural Indian women is good, in contrast with what we generally hear. Even if anyone wants to disagree with the research methodology adopted by her,  we can’t ignore the fact that there are traditional practices bequeathed to us from the oldest and one of the few continuous civilizations of the world. The question to be asked is, in our attempt to improve menstrual health of rural Indian women,  are we at least investigating how the traditional practices are at work? The answer would be NO!

The best line from this speech is that we are unable to solve the problems in this country not because the problems are challenging but because the problem solvers are challenging.

Under the name of progressiveness, we were taught that science provides the best remedy to the problems faced by us today. There is absolutely no doubt in that. But, we are conditioned to believe that what is done in the west is the only science.

I don’t think that people are fools to carry forward a culture blindly for hundreds of years. Any culture, west or east, north or south, develops scientifically according to the climate, geography and other conditions of the place and people residing in it. Yes, there are few superstitions which turned out to be disastrous. When we try to mimic a culture of a different place and time to suit today’s ends without proper study, it ends up being problematic. But, should that stop us from investigating if the so-called ‘backward cultures’ really provide a solution to the modern problems? Even the modern science at times led to disastrous outcomes. Did we abandon science?

Today’s science is tomorrow’s culture if the knowledge is not properly bequeathed to next generations. Our ancient science and way of life remained as a ‘ backward culture ‘ in the minds of few because we could not properly transfer knowledge across centuries. Let’s try to discover the science in the culture. That is when we can identify the unscientific part of it and discard it.

  • So, let’s learn the habit of asking right questions and let’s question each and every practice, modern or ancient,  before judging their effectiveness. Let’s not give a deaf ear to the culture, because it offers solutions to many problems of the day if we deal it with reason.

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