27 June 2019
Bargarh: Almost nine years after parents of a fourteen-year-old girl Ranjana Agarwal from Varanasi claimed of having unique power to see blindfolded, similar claims have been made by parents of Alisha Agarwal, a little girl from Bargarh in Odisha.
As per the claims, daughter of Dinesh Agarwal and mother Nupur Agarwal from Kali Mandirapada in Bargarh, Alisha can read, identify colours and recognize people even with blindfold. Her parents even have conducted some tests in front of media representatives to prove the claims, same as done in the case of Ranjana.
However, it was on a live broadcast by a national media house on June 18, 2010, that Professor Narendra Nayak, the then President of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA), challenged the claim of the girl, who also held a certificate claimed to be given by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in recognition of her ‘unique talents’.
Nayak in one of his articles has shared the details about the media broadcast. He claimed that after being blindfolded Ranjana was given a newspaper to read which she brought down at such a low angle that she could read it through the gap between the blindfold and her nose.
When Nayak and an ophthalmologist present in the program offered to blindfold the girl with dough applied to her eyes, she started complaining and even the media house did not let the test go further. He has been since then challenging such claims and has even declared prize money for any contender who can display supernatural powers of any kind under controlled conditions.
A nationwide campaign to raise public awareness on the issue was launched by Nayak after an organisation claimed of training kids to perform the miraculous feat of seeing with a blindfold on. In each meeting of the campaign Nayak gives a demonstration of how blindfolded reading is impossible under test conditions where the eyes are completed sealed from all sources of light and even the human and sensory environment is controlled by the investigator.
Nayak has stated that little children are encouraged to cheat and lie in order to defend a falsehood. The children are compelled to lie under pressure to live up to expectations or to please one's parents and significant others.
As reported by The News Minute, a digital news platform based in Bangalore, another such claim by a group of people in Aldur village in Chikkamagaluru of Karnataka was put to rest by Nayak on May 2 this year.
The group promoting the children also claimed that the skill of seeing with the blindfold on can be acquired in ten days and also charged exorbitant amounts of money for it, reported The News Minute.
However, Nayak demonstrated how the skill works at a publicised event at the BGS Pre University College. He trained children to do the same thing and they did it. There is no skill involved as the children see through the gaps.