Coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in China's Wuhan and has thrown the entire world out of gear, is now a goddess in India. 'Corona Mai' is being worshiped in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam.
The 'goddess' is being pleaded to spare lives.
In Uttar Pradesh, women in some villages in Tumkuhiraj, Kasia, Hata, Captanganj and Khadda tehsil in Kushinagar district have started worshipping 'Corona Mai'.
These women have dug a small pit in the field, filled it with water and each one offers nine cloves and nine 'laddoos' to 'Corona Mai' to appease her. Women from adjoining villages are now flocking to the 'temple' to pray to 'Corona Mai', IANS reported.
Some local people have appealed to the district administration to stop such activities which spread superstition and misinformation.
Similarly in Ranchi, women on Friday gathered in large numbers at Namkom and Tatisilve in Ranchi, Bagbera ground in Jamshedpur and at two places in Dhanbad and worshipped goddess coronavirus. The women gathered along along with puja materials like sindoor, flowers, ladoos, water in pots. They sat around a tree and worshipped the coronavirus goddess.
They also sang a song to appease the coronavirus goddess. However, while praying, the women forgot about social distancing.
"We have taken shelter under goddess coronavirus. She will be pacified with worship. The doctors have failed to treat patients and scientists have also failed to develop a vaccine to cure coronavirus. We have worshipped coronavirus goddess so that our family members will remain safe from it" said Naina Devi, a resident of Namkom who was part of the group.
Echoing her view Kabita Mahto said "the country has witnessed two natural calamities in West Bengal and Maharashtra in the form of cyclones due to goddess coronavirus. Nothing has been done to pacify the goddess. She is taking a big shape. We have worshipped to calm down goddess coronavirus'' anger."
Taking cue from other states, some women in Assam have also started worshiping the deadly novel coronavirus as a "goddess" in a bid to to get rid of the devastating disease.
A large number of women in different districts of Assam, for the past few days, worshipped the fatal virus as a "goddess" or "Corona Maa" even as the scientists, experts and doctors across the world are on an all round war against Covid-19 and engaged in developing vaccines and medicines.
Many people, mostly women, are now performing "Corona Devi Puja" in Assam. They believe that it is the only way to put an end of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
From Biswanath Chariali to Darrang district and even in Assam's main city of Guwahati, women, in some places accompanied by men too, have been performing "Corona Devi Puja" on the bank of the rivers or in temples and under big trees.
In order to please "Corona Maa", some women in Biswanath district of northern Assam, after day-long fasting, prayed to "Corona Maa", claiming that they believe if the "Corona God" is satisfied with their "puja", the frightful disease would be eliminated.
Reacting to the performance of "Corina Devi Puja", an Assam Health Department official said that they have to intensify their awareness campaign against such superstitious beliefs. Besides the Health Department, police and social welfare departments and many NGOs in Assam are conducting awareness programme against the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Bihar, 'Corona Devi' has emerged as a goddess for village women who believe it would rid them of the corona infection. In many districts of Bihar, including Nalanda, Gopalganj, Saran, Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, women have been thronging water-bodies in the vicinity and worshipping the 'Corona Devi' for the last few days. The video of the rituals has gone viral on social media, too. The women, though, are seen maintaining social distancing.
The women at Phulvariya Ghat in Gopalangaj, dug seven pits and put jaggery syrup into them along with cloves, cardamom, flowers and seven 'ladoos' and worshipped the 'Corona Devi' to get rid of the epidemic.
For the last three days at Sarveshwarnath Temple in Brahmapura, Muzaffarpur, women have been performing the ritual. A woman said she "realised" after watching a video that if corona had to be chased away, a ritual with offerings of 'ladoos', flowers and sesame seeds would do the trick.
Another woman said she associates the worship with a dream she had.
In many blocks of Buxar district, women worship the 'Corona Devi'. A group of women took a dip in the Ganga and offered prayers at the river bank. Seven pits were made and after lighting incense, jaggery and sesame along with 'ladoos' and flowers were buried into the ground.
In many areas, the worship is also done by offering 'poha' to the 'Corona Devi'.
(With inputs from IANS)