Several specially-abled children and youths were partially buried in the dirt during the solar eclipse, mostly in Kalyan Karnataka districts, as part of a superstitious belief that the 'ritual', if practised on the day of the eclipse, would cure their disabilities.
While the rationalists see solar eclipse nothing more than an interplay of shadows of the Sun, the moon and the Earth, the celestial event inspires superstitions galore among many villagers. In one such practice, parents of four specially-abled children in Chincholi taluk of Kalaburagi district buried their kids' neck-deep in mud containing dung waste for close to three hours.
A five-year-old boy, said to be a relative of Ainolli Gram Panchayat president, was among the four buried neck-deep in the dirt. The parents believe that the practice of partially burying the ailing children in dung waste during the eclipse would cure their ailments.
"We have followed what our elders have told us, as a medical treatment has not helped, we decided to try this... we don't know whether it will cure our child or not, but wanted to give it a try as medical treatment did not help," father of a girl said.
At Taj Sultanpur, pits were dug at dumping yards where goat manure was collected. Children were seen struggling to endure the heat generated from the manure.
Police and district administration officials learnt about the incident and rushed to the spot. Officials, with the help of a few locals, pulled the children out of the mud.
There are reports of similar incidents in Chitaguppa taluk of Bidar district, Indi in Vijayapura district and Dasodi in Tumakuru district.
Mass dining to dispel the myth
In a bid to dispel the myth of eating food during a solar or lunar eclipse is harmful, Shivamurthy Murugha Sharana of Murughamutt, Chitradurga, had organised a mass dining for the students of SJM Medical College and religious heads of all communities on Thursday.
People should come out of their houses to catch the glimpse of the celestial event. They should shun superstitious beliefs attached to the eclipse. Post-eclipse, many, even educated, throw water stored in their houses. Now, is it possible to drain the sea, river, lake or well?, Murugha Sharana questioned.