Over the years the word "taboo" has evolved into a very complicated term , referring to prohibition of practices and beliefs pertaining to betterment of society in general. Earlier a taboo referred to something which shouldn't be done or something that is restricted. Tradition and people's supernatural belief in certain social and cultural practices have made taboo viewed as a "negative" term.

Recently in Karnataka, there is a taboo to Muslim girls wearing hijabs in school. Hijab is a tradition for Muslim women , where they cover their face with cloth, making part of the face visible . The School-authorities of Karnataka complained that it hid the identity of the girls wearing them and made a compulsory rule to have same uniform for every student. This caused unrest among the families of the Muslim girls.

Talking about unrest for Muslims, the UP Government banned, or in simple terms, placed a "taboo" on serving and preparing of cow meat, i.e beef in Lucknow restaurants, with a warning that the restaurant and their owners will be fined if seen doing this. The government believed that since cow is worshipped as a Goddess, it will be inhuman if people consume their meat. This however didn't age well with the Muslims, who mostly dependent on cow as their primary source of meat. The taboo had a negative impact once again , leading to several political problems and unrest between the Hindu-Muslims.

Not only in India, but several people have become victim of taboo in recent years. For example in Japan, there is a taboo on wearing shoes in household. In France gifting wine is considered a taboo. Roses are a taboo for gifting in Russia. In Spain, there is a taboo on yawning and stretching in public, While these may seem kind of lame and stupid, countries and their government are pretty strict regarding this. These are not rules, these are traditions and practices followed by people over years. So what if an individual decides not to follow this? Will there be consequences? Will it lead to political and social unrest? The answer remains unknown, but its safe to follow the "protocols". Superstition is a dangerous thing that can drive a person crazy, both mentally and physically.

Now keeping individual countries aside, we have some taboos which are general for all the people, irrespective of country or caste.

Some bodily function taboos include belching or burping, defecation, spitting and flatulence in front of other people. One would ask , what if by accident? Now that’s a special case. Usually, these functions are viewed as taboos when done in front of other people. Like if someone burps in a meeting or farts in a front of the public, it creates an uncomfortable environment. Blowing one’s nose is a taboo for people living in France, Turkey and China.

Although several countries have made LGBTQIA+ legal, i.e a person can be lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans-gender, many still have not evolved from the old ways and fall under the category of being homophobic( prohibiting people of same-sex to have or indulge in sexual and marital affairs). This is viewed as a taboo. This situation is very prestigious and the countries which are homophobic are viewed as “shameless” by the society. Some examples are Ghana and Cameron, the African countries who found it difficult to come out of their old ways. Setting aside personal preferences, the government tries its best to come in a neutral ground, so that it doesn’t affect the interests of the public in the long run. Several movies, web series which are homophobic are now being banned, whereas the film producers nowadays are directing cinemas supporting LGBTQ.

While these things may seem serious, there are certain taboos which apparently can come out as funny. Like in Indonesia, you can’t touch a person’s head? Like what does that even mean. Apparently, the head is the sacred part of a human being and the belief that it is a taboo to touch another person’s head or even like pat them? This is a surprise.

Now, we know that China has some ancient philosophies whether it is based on medicine or some ancient text. It is a taboo for pregnant women to eat cold food.

There are terms which practically seem off-limits and are considered a taboo. For example, pedophilia, i.e showing sexual interest in children is a taboo. A person having it is advised to seek mental help and treatment. The next thing which is a taboo is ‘polygamy’, i.e having multiple spouses. While this seemed pretty normal for people of royal background at a time in some part of human civilization, this is a taboo. It is often referred as crime, meaning the concerned person is not loyal to any of his/her spouses. Though we may come across in history books, of Kings having multiple queens, it is advised to marry once and stay loyal in one’s marriage. Similarly, abortion is a taboo, which to some extent may refer to as a crime, simply because of prohibiting a new life from coming to the earth.

There are taboos like packing a gift in white paper in Japan. The white color symbolizes death. At this point the "prohibition" or the "taboo" becomes more of a superstition. Can one risk their own life by disobeying a taboo? Or they just live with it?

After so many years of existence of mankind, the answer is pretty clear. Human beings are superstitious and tend to be obedient when it comes to taboos. After all, who would risk the beautiful life on Earth, an one-time adventure for some mere prohibitions?

.    .    .