One in every three persons believe child could be born handicapped if a pregnant lady moved out during eclipses, according to a random survey conducted by a science teacher in Itarsi.
The survey has revealed that myths and superstitions associated with eclipses are rampant among common people with 96% of the 500 surveyed believing that even lunar eclipse could have different bad impacts.
More than half (55%) believed that hazardous rays were emitted by moon during the lunar eclipse. About 56% each bathed again after eclipses and put basil (tulsi) leaves in cooked food to keep it safe.
Interestingly, 88% of the surveyed persons were graduates and 68% were service holders and overall 69% were women.
Itarsi-based science teacher Sarika Gharu conducted the survey under the guidance of Bhopal-based Tribal Science Centre. It was conducted at the Itarsi railway station amongst the people passing through in different trains, a few days after the April 4 lunar eclipse.
The survey threw up some other interesting trends. One in four (25%) people did not eat during the lunar eclipse while 9% did not even take water.
Twenty-three per cent said they did not know the scientific cause of eclipses while 35% felt lunar eclipse occurred because ‘Rahu and Ketu’ (planets traditional considered as bad impact) put their shadow over moon.
Sarika said the prevalence of superstitions related to eclipses was surprisingly high even among science graduates and postgraduates. She claimed surveyed people also said they were impacted by the myths related to eclipses highlighted by the media.
"People do not think twice before paying up to Rs 1,000 to perform rituals for grahan shanti," she said.
Pramod Verma, the director general of MP Council of Science and Technology which is responsible for promoting scientific temperament, said awareness drives were periodically conducted in schools and on other platforms.
"But such surveys underline the need for sustained awareness campaign just ahead of the eclipses. We would try to do that," he said.