BARIPADA: Making science a tool to dispel the darkness of ignorance, this teacher is on a mission to defeat superstitions and blind beliefs that continue to take lives in the tribal-dominated district of Mayurbhanj.
Meet Jagannath Sahu who uses science to perform magic and debunk superstitions prevailing in the region. Popular as a magician, the science teacher is popular among both parents and students of the district.
“Magic is pure science and no supernatural force is behind it. By performing magic shows, I not only entertain people but also educate them by exposing their blind and superstitious beliefs,” said Sahu.
Sahu performs shows in front of school students, parents and people residing in remote hilly areas of the district. He even teaches his tricks to other teachers so that they can join the fight against blind beliefs.
A resident of Kheruna in the district, Sahu started his teaching career in 1991. Currently, he is posted as in-charge Science Inspector at the office of the District Education Officer.
Sahu has been awarded for his magic tricks by Fakir Mohan University, Seemanta Engineering College, National Children’s Science Congress, National Service Scheme (NSS) and at several State-level science exhibitions.
“I was disturbed over frequent incidents of sorcery-related violence in the district and inability of the administration to check the menace. Hoping to put my skills to use, I decided to perform magic shows to remove blind beliefs and ignorance among people who reside in remote villages,” Sahu said and added that he doesn’t charge any fee from the audience for his shows.
In order to master the tricks, Sahu used to attend magic shows and observe the performers keenly. Back home, he practised the skills regularly and and gradually, learnt all the tricks of the trade.
Sorcery-related crimes are a regular affair in the rural pockets of the district. Cases of witch hunting and murders over black magic are on the rise in Mayurbhanj despite efforts by the district administration and social organisations.