Amid the global pandemic in Bihar, 'Corona Devi' has emerged as a goddess for village women who believe it would rid them of the corona infection.
In many districts of Bihar, including Nalanda, Gopalganj, Saran, Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, village women have been thronging water-bodies in the vicinity and worshipping the 'Corona Devi' for the last few days. The video of the rituals has gone viral on social media, too. The women, though, are seen maintaining social distancing.
The women at Phulvariya Ghat in Gopalangaj, dug seven pits and put jaggery syrup into them along with cloves, cardamom, flowers and seven 'ladoos' and worshipped the 'Corona Devi' to get rid of the epidemic.
For the last three days at Sarveshwarnath Temple in Brahmapura, Muzaffarpur, women have been performing the ritual. A woman said she "realised" after watching a video that if corona had to be chased away, a ritual with offerings of 'ladoos', flowers and sesame seeds would do the trick.
Another woman said she associates the worship with a dream she had.
In many blocks of Buxar district, women worship the 'Corona Devi'. A group of women took a dip in the Ganga and offered prayers at the river bank. Seven pits were made and after lighting incense, jaggery and sesame along with 'ladoos' and flowers were buried into the ground.
In many areas, the worship is also done by offering 'poha' to the 'Corona Devi'.
However, rationalists such as Pandit Vinay Pathak of Muzaffarpur call the ritual a superstition and emphasize medical treatment to curb the infection. Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University's Sociology Professor B.N. Singh says, "Whenever there is any trouble upon us, we all take refuge in God. On many occasions, faith takes the form of superstition. We are in the same situation. People have reposed faith in superstition to escape the corona epidemic."
Gopalganj Civil Surgeon Dr Tribhuvan Narayan Singh, too, calls it a complete superstition. "Corona is an epidemic and its medical treatment is necessary," he said.