Villagers in Bihar pray to end COVID-19; Liberals call it superstition

Gopalganj/Chhapra: As the country unlocks in phases after months of lockdown, there are reports of poor village women praying for the end of COVID-19, in their traditional way. There have been reports from Hathua block in Gopalganj district, where several women were seen visiting local deities for the end of this global epidemic.

In another incident reported from Chhapra district of Bihar, several women visited the temple of Goddess Gadhdevi and performed some traditional religious activities in a bid to appease the deity.

However, media reports appearing in various newspapers and newsportals, have ridiculed them and called it superstition. The language and tone used in local vernacular news reports, reflects an attempt to ridicule their religious beliefs and associated practices. Several Twitter users also complained about this and called Bihar CM to stop this practice.

Devotees praying for Corona Relief
Devotees praying for Corona Relief

However, this comes at a time when religious leaders across the world are praying in their traditional way for the end of pandemic. On Saturday, Pope Francis led a special prayer with 100 other representatives for the end of the coronavirus pandemic. Francis held his biggest post-lockdown gathering by far on Saturday evening.

Imams of various mosque have also been urging Muslims to pray for the end of COVID-19. It has been well received and covered in the media.

Under such circumstances, arm chair thinkers should introspect whether terming religious practices of poor villagers as “superstition”, amounts to mocking their religious beliefs. Most of these people belong to socially and economically backward communities, but are deeply religious. It is the religion which brings peace and stability in their society. Making a mockery of their religion is akin to mocking their poverty and backwardness.

In a country like India, where everyone is free to practice their own faith, the custodians of fourth pillar of democracy should not use different yardsticks for people of different faiths. The poor people are well aware that only medicine can treat any infected person. But it is their belief that God can help in containing further spread of the pandemic. It is not something which should be made fun of.

The irony is that medical science has equally failed in containing the virus. In general, there is no cure for virus borne diseases. People get healed once their body develops necessary anti-bodies, after getting infected to it. The same is true for COVID-19 also. The only thing that is effective in containing this pandemic is Social Distancing.