Some of the oldest and magical cultures in the world are from India. It is a land of various cultures and is full of diversity. It is the land that has shocked the world with some great scholars such as Tagore, Shusruta and Aryabhatta while the world is also fascinated with the snake charmers, elephants and peacock on the other side. It is a diverse land full of festivities and traditions that leaves the entire world in awe. However, the land is full of shocking rituals as well.
Extremely bizarre rituals followed by people of India
Here are eleven rituals that will leave you in shock.
- Arranged Marriage
The 18th century was the last time the entire world saw arrange marriage; however, this is something still in practice and very relevant in India. Rather than individuals selecting their own partners their parents chose a partner for them. Although it is not hard to understand it is definitely hard to accept.
Although, the new generation is gradually changing the notion of marriage some families are still hesitant to accept the same. Class, religion, horror scope and tribe really matter a lot to the people in India. No one cares if your personalities do not match and you do not wish to talk to each other for the rest of your lives.
- Honour Killing
One of the most shocking rituals of India is Honour killing. In India marriage is more about the union of two families rather than the union of two people. Although there has been a decrease in the rigidity to a great extent there are many communities and families who are very strict on these matters.
Conservative thinking is still prevalent in many parts of the nation. People even decide what should be worn by women in India and what should be the way they communicate. If a member goes again the certain strict rules of the family, they are just not disowned but even killed for the sake of protecting the honor of the family.
The Dowry system, where the family is obliged to give whatever the family of the groom asks for is still prevalent in many parts of the country. Although there are laws that makes it an illegal act, however, it is still in practice. It is not only demeaning for a woman since her value is measured in the terms of money but it also puts a lot of financial pressure on the family of the bride. Many brides are tortured and sometimes even killed for the sake of it.
- Female Infanticide
Many women are subjected to the pressure of dowry but something more torturous and heinous that a woman has to go through is the murder of her female child. The Indian society is male dominant and in many parts of the nation, there are communities that give more importance to the males or the sons as compared to the females or the daughters.
If a girl is born in the family she is often killed. Men are often seen as the torchbearers of the family and are capable of bringing in dowry because of which they are placed in the pedestal. This system is seen even in educated families where the families opt for abortion.
- Child marriage
The legal age of marriage in India is 18 years for women and 21 years for men. However, the rural parts of the nation still witness ample cases of child marriage. This system was set illegal by the court in 1929 and since then there have been many provisions to bring this system to a halt, but it is still in practice, especially in the Muslim communities who want these decisions to be left to their personal laws.
It is also an issue of political concern in the nation. The focus is mostly laid on the underage girls being getting married but we often forget the underage boys who have to bear the responsibility of getting married at such a tender age.
- Baby dropping- Tossing of a baby brings good luck
One of the most dangerous and horrifying incidents in India is the ritual of Baby dropping which is especially performed by the Muslims. Hindus practice this ritual too but less as compared to the Muslims. This ritual us prevalent for 700 years at Baba Umar Dargah near Sholapur, Maharashtra.
People become a part of this ritual when they are blessed with a child. In this ritual, an infant is dropped from the tower of 50 feet with a crowd of people standing at the foot of the tower to catch the baby. The baby is believed to receive good luck after this ritual. The National Commission for Protection of Child’s rights is working to bring this ritual to a halt which is indeed very dangerous for the newborn child.
- Performing Exorcism by marrying humans to animals
Indian society is really superstitious and believes in the presence of ghosts and spirits. Many prejudices are alive in this society. Several aspects are taken into consideration while evaluating the horror scope of a person. It is quite elaborate.
Some women are considered to have mangal dosh which can be removed from their life only by marrying her to animals or trees. This mangal dosh is considered to be fatal for her husband. This is a completely mindless ritual that is used to get the women in India rid of a so-called dosh.
- Plucking out hair with the help of hands -Kesh Lochan
This is one of the most popular rituals in India where one offers hair to God in return for the fulfillment of one’s wish. It is a belief in India that to impress God or wake him up one must sacrifice their hair and dump it before him. Therefore, it is a very common practice to offer hair to God.
However, this ritual is taken a step forward by the Jain monks who pluck their hair out. They hire someone to do that for them or either do it themselves at least once or twice a year. This is a symbol of renunciation of worldly pleasures and to learn the practice of endurance.
The Self-Flagellation or Muharram is just not practiced in India but is also practiced in Pakistan as well as Bangladesh. The first month of the Islamic calendar is celebrated as Muharram and it is celebrated in the memory of the Battle of Karbala during which the grandson of the Prophet was killed.
The Shia Muslims take part in this mourning in which they remember their sacrifice and his martyrdom. In this ritual, the mourner hurts his own body with the use of chains and do Matams. These chains have razors attached to them and they merciless whip their own body with these chains.
The Aghori Saints of Varanasi are the ardent followers of Lord Shiva and consider him the Supreme Lord. They are the ones famous for their post-mortem rituals. They are generally found dwelling in the cremation grounds and their bodies are often seen smeared with ashes.
They make jewelry with the use of bones and they even use the skull as their bowls. They consume meat, alcohol, and drugs which are very different from the other Hindu monks. They consume the meat of the corpses and are also believed to do dark and black magic.
Polygamy is another ritual that is still in practice in India. This is a ritual that is practiced in the Muslim community. This is a practice exercised among the Muslim Indians under their personal laws.
Polyandry is another primitive ritual that is still in practice in some sects of Indian society. This is still in practice by a small sect called the Kinnauris of Himachal Pradesh.