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What is the evil eye called in India?

The evil eye, known as “nazar” in Hindi and “drishthi” in Malayalam and Kannada, is a superstition that is prevalent across different parts of India. The basic concept is that the evil eye is a malicious glare that can cause harm, bad luck, or misfortune for the person on the receiving end. There are various ways in which people try to ward off the evil eye in the different parts of the country.

What is the evil eye?

The evil eye is the product of a superstition that believes that a malevolent glare can cause misfortune for the recipient. It is also sometimes called the “envy eye.” The superstition states that the malicious look is powerful enough to bring destruction, even catastrophes, to the party on the receiving end. As a result, the evil eye is greatly feared across different cultures. There are different ways to ward off the evil eye, from using amulets and talismans to performing rituals.

The evil eye superstition exists across different countries, religions, and cultures. In India, it goes by different names like nazar (Hindi), drishthi (Kannada and Malayalam), and drishti. The concept remains largely the same everywhere with minor variations.

The evil eye is not caused by witchcraft in India. Instead, it is a product of human envy, jealousy and resentment. The villain need not necessarily be a supernatural entity or have special powers. Ordinary human emotions like greed, anger and envy are enough to cast the evil eye on unsuspecting victims. The strength of the curse is directly related to the intensity of the negative emotion rather than any special powers.

What are the symptoms of the evil eye in India?

There are various physical and behavioral signs associated with being a victim of the evil eye in India. Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Sudden loss of energy and stamina
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sudden onset of physical ailments like fever or pain
  • Problems in relationships
  • Issues with focus and concentration
  • Bad luck and misfortune
  • Problems in business and finances
  • Lethargy and depression

Babies and young children are considered especially vulnerable to the evil eye. Common symptoms in them may include:

  • Crying spells
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting spells
  • High fever
  • Stomach upsets and colic pain

In general, any sudden negative change in well-being – without any apparent cause – may be attributed to the evil eye.

What are the remedies for the evil eye?

There are several traditional remedies and precautions prescribed in Indian culture to deal with the evil eye. Some of the common ones are:

  • Nimbu-mirchi totka – Hanging a lemon and chillies outside homes or from the rearview mirror of vehicles is a popular remedy.
  • Reflectors – Small reflective ornamental hangings are used on doors as they are supposed to deflect the evil eye.
  • Kajal – Applying black kajal or kohl in the eyes of children is meant to protect them from the evil eye.
  • Camphor – Burning camphor near the affected person brings positivity and energy.
  • Coconut – Rotating a coconut around the head of the affected and then destroying it is meant to counter the effects.
  • Red chilies – Wearing a garland of red chilies is believed to protect one from the evil eye.

In addition, there are elaborate rituals performed by religious specialists to negate the effects of the evil eye. These include:

  • Nazar utarna – A ritual performed by a magician or priest to remove the effects of the evil eye
  • Jharphoonk – A ritual involving the burning of specific herbs while reciting mantras to ward off the evil eye
  • Vastu shanti – Rituals prescribed as per Vastu shastra to bring positivity into the house

What are the different names and regional variations?

The concept of the evil eye has regional names and variations across India:

North India

  • Nazar
  • Buri nazar
  • Nazaria

South India

  • Drishti (Kannada)
  • Kan drishti (Tamil)
  • Drishyam (Telugu)

West India

  • Dogad
  • Bagad
  • Kevada

East India

  • Raktabija
  • Galagali

Apart from the name, there are some minor regional differences in the symptoms associated with the evil eye and the specific remedies used.

Why is the evil eye considered dangerous in India?

There are a few reasons why the evil eye holds such fear in the Indian psyche:

  • Cultural beliefs – Superstitions and astrology are an integral part of Indian culture. Concepts like karma, dharma, cosmic energies are strongly entrenched.
  • Effect of envy – Envy and jealousy are considered strong enough to cause substantial damage. The evil eye is a manifestation of these emotions.
  • Protection of prosperity – The evil eye is believed to affect prosperity. Warding it off provides financial and personal security.
  • Part of tradition – Belief in the evil eye has been passed down generations as part of folklore and tradition.
  • Vulnerability of infants – The vulnerability of babies and children against the evil eye causes great concern for Indian parents.
  • Remedies provide comfort – The numerous remedies offer coping mechanisms and a sense of control over misfortune.

The evil eye thus remains a cultural concept that is deeply rooted in the Indian psyche. The regional variations in names, symptoms and remedies make it a diverse yet unified belief across the country.

What are some famous evil eye protection symbols in India?

Some of the common evil eye protection symbols used in India are:

Nazar Battu

The Nazar Battu is a ceramic or metallic amulet with a blue eye motif on it. It is common across North India.

Hamsa Hatha

The Hamsa Hatha – an amulet in the shape of a palm with an eye – is prevalent in Rajasthan and Gujarat.


The Trishul is the trident associated with several Hindu deities and considered an auspicious symbol.


The ancient Hindu Swastika symbol is used extensively as protection against the evil eye.

Lemon and green chilies

A lemon and chilies garland is commonly used in homes and vehicles across India.


Applying black kajal or kohl in the eyes is done extensively in infants to ward off drishthi or the evil eye.


Burning camphor is considered cleansing and beneficial against the evil eye.

Red sacred thread or cloth

Red threads and cloths used on the wrist or in homes are believed to offer protection.


The evil eye is a concept that is omnipresent and feared in the Indian cultural landscape. Known as nazar, drishthi, drishti, and other colloquial names, the basic ideology remains the same everywhere. Malevolent glares stemming from jealousy and envy are considered capable of causing major turmoil for unsuspecting recipients. Specific symbols, amulets, and rituals are used extensively to ward off and remedy its effects. Belief in the evil eye arises from the country’s spiritual tenets, protective parenting instincts, and deep-seated superstitions. Though the specifics may vary regionally, its universal presence and familiarity make it an integral part of the Indian psyche.