On The Left Hand Side Of The World

One of the stupidest things I have ever heard about humanity is that people who were left-handed were considered to be evil. The association of the directional left with evil is likely attributed to the dominance of right-handed people within a population, and consequently the awkwardness of motions made from the left side of the body. Left-handed people haven’t always been treated very well throughout history. Lefties have been persecuted for their disposition in the past, being labeled as evil, or even as witches, despite making up about 10% of the population. In fact, the word “sinister” derives from “left” or “left-hand.”

As TIME explained in 1969, “southpaws, gallock-handers, chickie paws and scrammies” were seen as sinister—literally, since the word means “left”—for centuries. “In the Middle Ages, for instance, the left-hander lived in danger of being accused of practicing witchcraft,” the article explained. “The Devil himself was considered a southpaw, and he and other evil spirits were always conjured up by left-handed gestures.” Therefore for a long time, people who were left-handed were considered to be on the path of the devil.

In India I have heard of so many cases where parents or grandparents would discourage any signs of babies/toddlers showing a natural inclination towards being left-handed and reward them when they picked up objects with the right. One of my teachers in school, although it was mostly jokingly, would never accept our books, assignments or tests if we gave it with our left hand. I am glad to see that such superstitious nonsense is slowly dying out.

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