Witch-hunting: A threat for women even in today’s world

Author: Rohit Raj 


Witch-hunting has been famous since the medieval ages. It is a concept that has been viewed in many instances of the life cycle. Many TV shows, movies, and even documentaries are focused on the paranormal and realistic views of Witch-hunting and sometimes associating it with ghost hunting. It was also called a social plague at a time, a very detrimental and grotesque view of how women were tortured due to mental illness and paranoia which was at that time called, something related to paranormal activities and superstitions.

In today’s world, witch hunting and its concept might not be heard in an instance anywhere, but in reality, it is a practice followed throughout the world. In many areas, where witchcraft, dark magic, and anti-Christ heretics have taken their place. This practice is overall very dangerous, psychologically disturbing, haunting, and very oblivious to the person suffering. Its origin is unknown but it can be seen in many places altogether. India is also a leading country that has ample cases of witch-hunting.



The expression “witch” is utilized in the setting to recognize a “lady”, who is asserted to be engaged with dark enchantment and hurting others. The ancestral society terms such as ladies as “DAINI”. She is viewed as an evil lady for the general public, where she lives in. Ordinarily, such ladies don’t have living family members. She figures out how to outlast her kids and grandkids, who may have capitulated to pestilence or the like. Society, can’t acknowledge the way that ladies can endure such a catastrophe except if she has some peculiar forces.

In prior occasions, the same contention was regularly not material to men. However; this is a worldwide wonder since the last fifteenth century however because of different renewal developments, this social evil stopped to exist in European nations now. Be that as it may, the North-Eastern states, especially Assam are still overwhelmed by the threat of witch-chasing.[1]

The Various studies and branches explained

In British social human studies, conversations about black magic would in general take their take-off from Evans-Pritchard’s exemplary investigation of Witchcraft, prophets, and enchantment among the Azande (Evans-Pritchard 1976). Evans Pritchard utilized the Azande people groups’ own qualification between what he deciphered as black magic and magic in his piece of Zande convictions.

Logically, his principal reason for existing was to show how for the Azande thoughts of black magic worked as a method for clarifying mishaps that were hard to clarify in different manners, these thoughts were at that point, as he contends, bridled to a method of settling doubts between individuals. When an individual had been recognized as practicing black magic against somebody, their informer could request that they cool their black magic by blowing on a chicken’s wing.[2]


Witch Chasing and its History

Witch-chases appear to show up in sensational upheavals; they are not a normal component of public activity. A people’s group appears to abruptly wind up invaded with a wide range of rebellious components which represent a danger to the collectivist in general. The different charges that show up during witch-chases include allegations of violations submitted against the network or the general public.

It is the entire aggregate presence that is at stake; it is The Nation, The People, The Community, or The State which is being subverted also, sabotaged. At the point when a charge is brought of being a witch what’s going on is that a custom contrast is being drawn between pictures of the corporate request and things that would contradict it. There is by all accounts no “genuine” explanation behind a cleanse, a preliminary, or an examination, we have been persuaded that these were led for different thought processes.

The previous authoritarian scholars centered upon witch-chases as means whereby political elites could look after force, threaten potential adversaries, and balance out their complete control of all parts of public activity. While genuine witch-hunt incidentally happens in the cutting-edge period, there is an overall logical conviction that black magic is legendary, and along these lines isn’t wrongdoing which can be submitted.

Notwithstanding, this might be countered by the way that, regardless of whether it is feasible for witches to mystically impact occasions or on the other hand people, witches do exist at any rate to the degree that various people express that they are witches.

Patriarchy, Societies and its History in India

The man-centric culture is hesitant to give ladies their property rights and the widows are consistently murdered in the wake of being called witches. Their standard reason is by all accounts that it is a family debate and there is no compelling reason to take the issue to the court. By and large, the ladies directed were either widows or more seasoned single ladies and thusly, more defenseless.

The confidence in the presence of witches is solid and profound established particularly in ancestral networks. The training mirrors the low status of ladies, especially widows. It is fascinating to take note that those, who are occupied with badgering and executing the supposed honest witches, have a place with the same group or clan or gathering.

Witch chasing is an event in numerous pieces of India. The most noteworthy occurrences have been accounted for from various states in India, for example, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa. Individuals from various areas utilize various names, for example, Dakan, Dayan, Baramati, chetabadi, chillangi, Hawa or stink eye, dahani, tonhi, and so on.

The names might be extraordinary yet the training appears to take a pretty much comparable structure; witch chases stay a determined scourge in provincial pieces of India. Extraordinary and offbeat convictions exist in each sort of society. Their assortment appears to be unending. Black magic is one such offbeat conviction found among the individuals. The specialty of performing charms spells, and ceremonies to look to control occasions or administer certain regular or extraordinary powers.

No palatable clarifications of the prevalence of ladies have shown up. Despite the fact that the extents fluctuated among districts overall three fourth of charged witches are women.[3]

The Present-Day effects and Outcomes

Despite the fact that the early present-day practice of witch chases finished a few centuries back, many women are known to have been executed in Assam in late decades dependent on allegations of black magic and the number attacked may have been in the thousands. The highlight is noted here is that such assaults are illegal. The murder of somebody as a presumed witch is wrongdoing.

23 of 29 cases included allegations that the lady assaulted had caused sickness, malady, or on the other hand demise. Scapegoating, town contentions, legacy clashes, and female dangers to man-centric society are presented in clarifications of early current chases and comparable speculations are raised to clarify assaults on witches in contemporary India.

The real incidents and a compilation of more

Men orbited the three ladies, their clenched hands folded over thick iron lines and wooden sticks. The women crouched on the ground at the focal point of their town in the western Indian territory of Gujarat and whimpered as the group accumulated. Two youngsters had passed on in the town, and the ladies were being called ‘Dakan’, the Gujarati word for witch. They were blamed for devouring the youngsters’ spirits.[4]

The assault on the triplet, in Gujarat in 2014, was one of the thousands of witch chases that occur in India. In excess of 2,500 Indians have been pursued, tormented, and executed in such chases somewhere in the range of 2000 and 2016, as per India’s National Crime Records Bureau. Activists and columnists state the number is a lot higher, on the grounds that most states don’t list black magic as a rationale for homicide.

Witch chases fundamentally target ladies and adventure India’s standing framework and culture of male-centric society. Men who brand ladies as Dakan profit by profoundly established notions and frameworks based on sexism and male-controlled society to lay the fault on females.

The allegations of magic are utilized to remove ladies from important land that men pine for, in a district where imperfect improvement plans have delivered horticultural disappointments, state sociologists who study savagery in India. Witches are likewise helpful clarifications for increasing new-born child death rates and passing from intestinal sickness, typhoid, and cholera.

A couple of states have received enemy of a witch chasing laws, however, Gujarat isn’t one of them. Ladies, there are utilizing their own assets to fighting back. At ANANDI, a Gujarati philanthropic that underpins weak networks, ladies sit in a hover on the floor and offer samosas and stories. “We ensure one another. It’s the means by which we discover quality,” one of them says.

The ladies are learning the law, requesting a work area in the nearby police headquarters so they can advocate for ladies who stroll in to report savagery, and they are pushing for witch chasing to be banned.

More related incidents of witch hunt and suffering towards Indian women

In December 2017 Susiana and her sister-in-law, Madhuben’s, who was beaten during the witch chase four years back, sat on the earth floor inside a companion’s home, conversing with me. It has been a long time since the assault and the sisters-in-law state it isn’t sheltered to examine the witch chase in their own home since they actually live with the men who called them Dakan and beat them. Madhuben’s cheeks are empty, the whites of her eyes noticeable. She says. “Too frightened to even consider eating. I faint with dread. What sort of way is this to live?”

The rigorous, fatal brutality and the really false allegations and assumptions that were very much against two women and their only sister-in-law all tended to start in 2012. That year the three ladies discovered their male family members regularly crapping in the plot of land where the sisters developed corn, lentils, and peas. Practically 50% of India’s family units do not have a latrine, as indicated by the 2011 statistics, and a large number of those individuals poop in the open. Of the 1.7 million individuals around the globe who pass on every year in light of an absence of disinfection and admittance to clean latrines, 600,000 live in India.

The sisters-in-law were angry with their male family members’ utilizing their harvests as a latrine. How are we expected to manage [human excrement] here?’ This test to men in a culture where ladies are relied upon to be quiet subordinates incensed her family, she reviews. The men didn’t quit pooping on the land. Rather they turned on the ladies, beat them, and force them to leave their home for 10 days.

The circumstance exacerbated a year or so later when two youngsters in their home turned out to be sick. One created renal disappointment, the other malignancy. Helpless admittance to medical care in the area implied the family had to take out advances and travel to neighboring towns for clinical assistance. Cash was scant and stress was high.

At the point when the youngsters kicked the bucket, the sisters-in-law were blamed for eating their spirits and causing their unexpected losses. And afterward, the rest of the men started a mission to take their territory.

The plot where the ladies developed vegetables was prolific and in an ideal spot, at a four-way street intersection in the town. That was where they were beaten. Male family members constrained the sisters-in-law to sign a record saying they would hand over land possession to the men. “We of course unfortunately had no proper and good option except for merely do the sign. The cultivating land is presently a progression of the side of the road stores selling shoes, writing material, vehicle parts, and garments.

Fights over land and property are normal begins to witch chases, says Soma Chaudhuri, a humanist at Michigan State University who contemplates sexual orientation viciousness in India. Chaudhuri says witch chases and beatings give an outlet to men living in neediness to vent disappointments over their own absence of intensity.

So, what do individuals do when they’re exceptionally disappointed? You seek your environmental factors for a simple substitute. Ladies are that substitute.” Long-standing social conventions of man-centric society, where men should control family assets, make ladies who may have acquired their own property obvious objectives, Chaudhuri says. With those male-centric qualities comes sexism and denigration of ladies, she includes.

More upsetting data about Witch hunt on women

In Gujarat exacerbating disparities among metropolitan and provincial networks might be another setting off factor, specialists state. Gujarat is praised by the administration as one of India’s most evolved states. The decision Bhartiya Janata Party, driven by PM Narendra Modi, once Gujarat’s main clergyman, has an even sudden spike in demand. The picture that legislators push is of a modernizing area that has moved past issues of sexual orientation disparity and inclination.

In the towns of Gujarat’s Dahod district, the fact of the matter is unfathomably extraordinary. Though the legislature can highlight expressways and clinics in urban communities, a researcher says, new-born child mortality in rustic territories is rising, air quality is compounding and agrarian conditions are weakening.

As per the National Family Health Survey, fewer youngsters are vaccinated and more kids younger than five years are malnourished and seriously underweight in Dahod contrasted and the public normal. “It’s an actual dream, that this Gujarat model which is made on the advancement” What we are really observing and contemplating is that there is an imbalance of rising on the grounds that this model helped various fabricating factors in the urban areas while disregarding horticulture in the towns.

“The model totally bars the networks where a considerable lot of the ladies focused in witch chases live, places like Dahod where destitution and infection bubble over into dissatisfaction and brutality toward ladies.


While witch chasing may appear to be a relic of past times, today is a lot of alive in rustic pieces of India. In advanced witch chasing, ladies are tormented, looted, and executed for being named as a witch. Giving a lady this mark, regardless of whether it is on the grounds that somebody needs their territory or on the grounds that they need somebody to fault for a lamentable occasion, is an amazing and hazardous move.

Today, there is a huge battle against witch chasing. Laws were made, and there are uphold bunches that assist ladies with getting legitimate assistance. In any case, despite the fact that in the previous four years there has been an expansion in attention to this issue, it hasn’t halted the training.

Ladies actually are in dread for their prosperity. Despite the fact that it is under-announced and it is a profound established practice, numbers are indicating better reports. Gradually, it is diminishing and the law is being drilled more.[5]


[1] Barry B, “What Sparked Our Fear of Witches — and What Kept It Burning so Long?” The Washington Post (October 12, 2017) <https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/what-sparked-our-fear-of-witches–and-what-kept-it-burning-so-long/2017/10/12/084ad90c-aebc-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html>

[2] Frankfurter D, “What Witch-Hunters Can Teach Us About Today’s World” (The Conversation) <https://theconversation.com/what-witch-hunters-can-teach-us-about-todays-world-75176> accessed September 20, 2020

[3] Overdorf J, “‘Going on a Witch Hunt’ in India Is Real  — and Deadly” (USA TODAY, December 13, 2017) <https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/12/13/witch-hunt-women-india-real-and-deadly/930270001/>

[4] Quinn A, “How Did ‘Witch Hunt’ Become the Complaint of the Powerful?” The New York Times (June 6, 2017) <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/06/magazine/how-did-witch-hunt-become-the-complaint-of-the-powerful.html> accessed September 20, 2020

[5] Welle (www.dw.com) D, “Witch Hunts: A Global Problem in the 21st Century | DW | 10.08.2020” (DW.COM) <https://www.dw.com/en/witch-hunts-a-global-problem-in-the-21st-century/a-54495289> accessed September 20, 2020

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