Editorial: We Need Rationality, Not Superstition

Editorial: We Need Rationality, Not Superstition

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Thursday, July 04, 2024, 11:15 PM IST
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Hathras Stampede Horror | X

The tragic stampede at Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, resulting in the death of 112 people and injuries to many others, calls for a thorough inquiry to uncover the exact causes of the disaster. The known facts indicate a severe miscalculation in crowd management, with an area designed to accommodate 80,000 people overwhelmed by a crowd of approximately 2.2 lakh. The chaos ensued as followers rushed to collect soil believed to have miraculous powers. This incident underscores the immense influence and blind faith people place in the man, a former Intelligence Bureau official turned spiritual leader. It is alarming that in the 21st century, such blind faith can lead to such preventable tragedies. The Constitution of India mandates the promotion of scientific temper, yet incidents like the Hathras stampede reveal the persistent grip of superstition over rational thought. While religious belief can coexist with rationality, superstitious practices, such as attributing miraculous powers to soil touched by a holy man’s feet, defy logic and endanger lives.

The Hathras stampede also highlights the dangerous influence of godmen like Bhole Baba, who continue to wield significant power over their followers. This influence often extends to local authorities, as evidenced by the initial exclusion of his name from the FIR. Despite facing sex-related charges, he maintains a devoted following, reflecting a broader societal issue of uncritical acceptance of spiritual leaders. This tragedy should serve as a wake-up call to promote rational thinking and scientific inquiry. It is crucial for society to distinguish between genuine religious devotion and harmful superstitions. The state must enforce constitutional mandates to foster scientific temper and protect citizens from the dangers of blind faith. Additionally, stricter regulations and scrutiny of spiritual leaders are necessary to prevent such incidents in the future. The incident is not just a local tragedy but a national shame.

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