Witchcraft and Witch Hunting in India: An Assessment

Emerging Challenges of Violence Against Women, Odisha State Women Commission, Bhubaneswar, India, (pp. 21-25)

5 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2018 Last revised: 31 Oct 2018

See all articles by Shamsher Alam

Shamsher Alam

Central University of Jharkhand

Aditya Raj

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Patna

Date Written: February 22, 2018

Abstract

Belief in witchcraft, is considered to be around, since the beginning of human social existence. It has been well depicted, documented and believed that witchcraft has ‘mainly’ been a feminine affair and had been (and is still being) practiced mostly by females. Alleged of causing detrimental influences, such women are trialed, branded as ‘witches’ and thereafter hounded, banished, flogged, raped, burnt alive and in most of the cases, ruthlessly murdered. It has been a predominant cultural phenomenon in almost all existent communities of the globe, including India, especially those residing in the states of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Resting on ethnographic experiences and secondary sources, the paper attempts to put forth the reasons as to why witch-hunting is still thriving in the country? What are the different types witch-hunting attacks? Who is the real victim in such instances? How is it being regulated by various international, national and regional legal instruments? why are the laws less effective? And what are the underlying causes behind such instances. The paper concludes with a way forward to the existing problem of violence directed against women.

Keywords: Witch, Witchcraft, Witch Hunting, Women, India

JEL Classification: I18, I28, Z13, Z18

Suggested Citation

Alam, Shamsher and Raj, Aditya, Witchcraft and Witch Hunting in India: An Assessment (February 22, 2018). Emerging Challenges of Violence Against Women, Odisha State Women Commission, Bhubaneswar, India, (pp. 21-25). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3130547

Shamsher Alam (Contact Author)

Central University of Jharkhand ( email )

Ratu-Lohardaga Road
Ranchi
Brambe, Jharkhand 835205
India

Aditya Raj

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Patna ( email )

Navin Government Polytechnic Campus
Patliputra Colony
Patna, Bihar 800 013
India

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