HYDERABAD: Be it a cab driver from Uppal, who beheaded a three-month-old girl as a ‘nar-bali’ to cure his sick wife or learned scholars in Chittoor, who were caught for the gruesome double murder of their daughters, anyone can fall prey to superstitious beliefs and do something so heinous that it leaves the world in a state of shock, opined a psychologist.
In India, indoctrination takes place at a young age, often followed by a lifetime of conditioning, said psychiatrists, adding that crimes are not just a result of superstition, but those beliefs also dictate the method sometimes.
The Chittoor double murder case is of shared psychotic disorder, where the couple was extremely superstitious, said Dr Diana Monterio, a city-based psychologist.
“Faith-based beliefs are a very strong motivator for a person. We always want to hope for something better and if superstitions and beliefs are taught from a young age, one fails to develop cognitive flexibility and they will be unable to think. Delusion also plays a major part in such cases. In the Chittoor case, the couple reportedly asked the cops to let the bodies be at home for them to come back to life, which shows how strong their belief was,” she said.
Though superstition is widespread and found in every corner of the world, years of ignorance has placed India in such a position that change of mentality and introduction of new laws are considered to be the last resort, opined a police official, adding that a superstition v/s science approach might remove focus from the primary concern that the crimes are despicable, not because they are superstitious, but because they cause harm.
Experts and behavioural scientists believe that in times of uncertainty, apprehension and emergency, with no more ways around, people are inclined towards supernatural practices.
Dr Purnima Nagaraja, a mental health professional, said that superstition stems from fear and uncertainty.
“Most of them are devoid of logic and are handed down from generations. ‘Babas’ prey on vulnerable sections and instill in them a sense of fear. The couple was asked to sacrifice daughters for a ‘greater good’. The baffling part is that they still won’t see it as a crime as they completely believe what they did was right,” said the doctor....