Su­per­sti­tions common in Bangladeshi so­ci­ety range from sim­ply the ridicu­lous to harm­less to ac­tu­ally harm­ful.

Southasia - - SURERSTITIONS BANGLADESH - And 'Moni­hara' 'Konkal' ‘pet­nis’ “shankhchunni” The writer is a La­hore-based den­tal stu­dent.

from jeal­ous peo­ple.

Such su­per­sti­tions are so wide­spread that a project was launched to fight against the harm­ful be­liefs about preg­nancy. The Bangladesh chap­ter of in­ter­na­tional char­ity, Car­i­tas in­tro­duced the Save Moth­er­hood Project (SMP) project in 1999 un­der its Com­mu­nity Health and Nat­u­ral Fam­ily Plan­ning Project. “Be­fore Car­i­tas, no one told us that we need to take nu­tri­tious foods dur­ing preg­nancy and after the birth of the baby,” said Suma Begum, 30, a Mus­lim housewife. “El­derly women told us not to eat more oth­er­wise the baby would cause prob­lems dur­ing birth. Now Car­i­tas has ad­vised us to take foods that pro­duce enough milk for the baby,” Begum ex­plained.

Ghosts and haunted places are a part of Bangladeshi be­liefs, lit­er­a­ture and films. Rabindranath Tagore wrote about ghosts in his short sto­ries

which are con­sid­ered clas­sics of the genre. Places be­lieved

By Iqra Asad to be haunted are avoided by peo­ple. There are a va­ri­ety of ghosts with dif­fer­ent names, each be­lieved to be the re­mains of a cer­tain type of per­son. For ex­am­ple, a is the ghost of a mar­ried woman who wears ban­gles made of shell ( which are tra­di­tion­ally worn by mar­ried women). Ac­cord­ing to the Wikipedia, ghosts are of­ten found in des­o­late stretches of road or fields around vil­lages, at cre­ma­to­ri­ums and grave­yards, on Ash­hyanth, She­ora or other sim­i­lar trees and also in de­serted and haunted houses. A cu­ri­ous as­pect of fe­male ghosts is that their feet are said to be back­wards. Ghosts in folk tales are almost al­ways ma­li­cious.

The su­per­sti­tions range from harm­less to ac­tu­ally harm­ful. In some cases, ed­u­ca­tion and ur­ban­iza­tion have helped in re­duc­ing the im­pact of su­per­sti­tious be­liefs. In other cases, some per­cep­tions are so deeply rooted that they per­sist in spite of the winds of change. Some su­per­sti­tions, such as the pres­ence of ghosts, take root from the fear of the un­known and are spread world­wide. Oth­ers are merely the mark of the imag­i­na­tive mind on the fab­ric of the col­lec­tive cul­tural mind­set of so­ci­ety. Some­one might cut their nails at night, then eat an egg in the morn­ing and ac­tu­ally fail their school test. If I were a Bangladeshi stu­dent I’d slip an egg into my break­fast and blame it later. It would be con­ve­nient, eh?

Jokes aside, most of the light­hearted su­per­sti­tions are joke ma­te­rial. How­ever, we must not for­get about the women be­ing re­pressed and kept shut be­hind doors just be­cause they ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing nat­u­ral or un­avoid­able such as the death of a spouse. In this re­gard, the spread of aware­ness must be done, as is be­ing done in the case of preg­nancy myths by Car­i­tas Bangladesh.

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