Navigation Links
Deadly witch hunts targeted by grassroots women's groups
Date:9/4/2012

EAST LANSING, Mich. Witch hunts are common and sometimes deadly in the tea plantations of Jalpaiguri, India. But a surprising source small groups of women who meet through a government loan program has achieved some success in preventing the longstanding practice, a Michigan State University sociologist found.

Soma Chaudhuri spent seven months studying witch hunts in her native India and discovered that the economic self-help groups have made it part of their agenda to defend their fellow plantation workers against the hunts.

"It's a grassroots movement and it's helping provide a voice to women who wouldn't otherwise have one," said Chaudhuri, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice. "I can see the potential for this developing into a social movement, but it's not going to happen in a day because an entire culture needs to be changed."

Witch hunts, she explained, are fueled by the tribal workers' belief in the existence of witches and the desperate need of this poor, illiterate population to make sense of rampant diseases in villages with no doctors or medical facilities. There are some 84 million tribal people in India, representing about 8 percent of the country's population.

In 2003, at a tea plantation in Jalpaiguri, five women were tied up, tortured and killed after being falsely accused of witchcraft in the death of a male villager who had suffered from a stomach illness.

Chaudhuri interviewed the villagers at length and found that such attacks are often impulsive and that the "witch" is often killed immediately. Widespread alcoholism is also a factor, she found.

But the study also documents examples of the women's groups stopping potential attacks. In one case, a woman was accused of causing disease in livestock and an attack was planned. Members of the self-help groups gathered in a vigil around the woman's home and surrounded the accuser's home as well, stating their case to the accuser's wife. Eventually the wife intervened and her husband recanted and "begged for forgiveness."

Through the loan program, each woman is issued a low-interest, collateral-free "microcredit" loan of about 750 rupees ($18) to start her own business such as basket weaving, tailoring or selling chicken eggs. Participants meet in groups of about eight to 10 to support one another.

Chaudhuri said the loan program is run by nongovernmental activists who have been successful in encouraging the groups to look beyond the economic aspects and mobilize against domestic abuse, alcoholism and the practice of witch hunts.

Through the bonds of trust and friendship, group members have established the necessary social capital to collectively resist the deep-seated tradition of witch hunts, Chaudhuri said.

"Why would they go against something so risky, something that breaks tradition?" she said. "They do it because they believe in the ideals of the microcredit group in women's development, family development and gender equality."

The study, which Chaudhuri co-authored with Anuradha Chakravarty of the University of South Carolina, appears in Mobilization, an international research journal.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andy Henion
henion@msu.edu
517-355-3294
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Missed Diagnoses in ICU Often Have Deadly Results: Review
2. Microbiology and Genome Experts Quell Deadly Bacteria Outbreak
3. Deadly outbreak of West Nile virus highlights urgent need for more research, funding
4. Weekend hospital stays prove more deadly than other times for older people with head trauma
5. New Vaccine May Offer Protection From Deadly Nipah Virus
6. AuCoin gets $600,000 to refine new test for deadly bacterial infection melioidosis
7. UT Southwestern study suggests new treatment target for deadly brain tumors
8. Tornadoes Dont Have to Be Deadly, Experts Say
9. Deadly Black Widow Spider Edged Aside in California
10. UW research shows new prognosis tool for deadly brain cancer
11. Tylenol Overdose Can Be Deadly for a Child
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Deadly witch hunts targeted by grassroots women's groups
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Erlanger Agency has announced a new partnership in ... latest campaign focuses on the fight against breast cancer, fundraising for a local woman ... here . , Carmen is a loving single mother of two boys who also ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... , ... Miami Dental Specialists is excited to bring patients the choice of ... January, Miami Dental Specialists will offer the non-metal implants as a safe, holistic and ... chosen by the dental implant manufacturer, Straumann, to bring this cutting-edge technology to Miami. ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 ... ... edition of “Revolutionizing Cancer Care.” , The print component of “Revolutionizing ... Chicago, Dallas, Pittsburgh/Cleveland, New York, Washington DC/Baltimore, and Seattle, with a circulation of ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Homeowners ... exterior design possibilities. CertainTeed, North America’s leading brand of building products, has improved ... offerings showcased in the mobile version of the ColorView® Exterior Style and Color ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Healthcare careers in the medical laboratory, nursing, ... via the website of healthcare staffing leader Aureus Medical Group during the month of ... travel therapy positions and in travel and direct hire opportunities in other ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... Inc. (NYSE: DPLO ) is pleased to announce the promotion of Paul Urick ... 23, 2016. To learn more about our ... ... ... In his redefined ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... 12, 2016   HeartWare International, Inc . (NASDAQ: ... webcast to discuss its financial results for the three ... February 25, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. ET.  The company ... conference call and webcast.  On the conference call and ... from the fourth quarter and business outlook.   ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... 12, 2016  Sequent Medical, Inc. announced today that ... evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the WEB™ Aneurysm ... intracranial aneurysms.  Prof Laurent Spelle , MD, Head ... Paris, France and Principal Investigator of the ... France and Germany.  Although patients with ruptured ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: