Even as the world experienced the beauty of the ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse on Sunday, scientists in India seemed to have had a busy time convincing citizens against myths and rumours related to the eclipse.
While eclipses are an awe and wonder-inspiring phenomena across the world, many associate myths and superstitions to the event, especially in India where several households continue to believe in rules like one should not eat during a solar eclipse.
On Sunday, Indian scientist and renowned Urdu poet Gauhar Raza appeared as a panelist on a television news debate on Hind channel Aaj Tak where he was seen discussing such myths with astrologer Pandit Rajkumar Shashtri. Others on the panel included astronomer Amitabh Pandey from SPACE, and Swami Umakantanand among others.
The debate was regarding rules that should be followed during the eclipse and what the eclipse’s astrological readings were for the country. In the course of the debate, astrologers tried to perpetuate certain myths such as how humans should not consume food during a solar eclipse. The highlight of the debate came when scientist Gauhar Raza, who was also part of the debate, took to eating on air to dispel the myth.
The incident occurred when astrologer Shashtri was telling viewers how they should not go out during the solar eclipse or consume any food. Raza, who had initially tried to argue logically against superstitious practices, perhaps thought that actions would convey his message better than words.
A video of the scientist eating on air has been going viral. Some even shared edited versions of the video with added sound effects to highlight the incident. Some even referred to the scientist as “savage”.
There is no scintific evidence to substantiate claims that eating during a solar eclipse was harmful to physical or mental health.
The superstitions, however, may have their bases in ancient folklore. The Greeks, fir instance, thought that the sun was abandoning people to the darkness during an eclipse hinting towards an upcoming disaster. On the other hand, in India, a demon called Rahu is believed to come and swallow the sun as Lord Surya had stopped him from consuming the elixir of life.