ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Witch-hunt among Santhals

The well-researched and informative article ‘Witch-hunts, Adivasis, and the Uprising in Chhotanagpur’ by Shashank Sinha (May 12) places the practice of witch-hunt among santhals in the anti-colonial context of 1857. However, it is worth examining the santhal practice in the general context of witchcraft and witch-hunt worldwide.

Witchcraft as a primitive human endeavour to deal with adversity is perhaps as ancient as humanity. The witch-hunt came later and became a mania in 16th century Europe. The innocent practice of witchcraft came in direct opposition to the superstitions of both the Old and the New Testament. The first trial of a witch, recorded with any degree of certainty, took place in 1324 in Coventry, UK. All over the world, including Chhattisgarh, witches were mostly poor working class women, old and widowed.

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