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:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on ... Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability ... fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland ... iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness ... & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her ... would lash out at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he ... he would use it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, ... minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to ... value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, and make ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... the Frederick area economy by obtaining investment capital for emerging technology companies. ... years that have already resulted in more than a million dollars of capital ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... 27, 2016 Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: ... the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended ... Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Celator"; Nasdaq: CPXX ) expired ... Time). As previously announced on May 31, ... merger agreement under which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has commenced a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... N.J. , June 24, 2016  Collagen ... the design, development and manufacturing of collagen and ... regeneration announced today that Bill Messer ... and Marketing to further leverage the growing portfolio ... medical devices. Bill joins the Collagen ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced ... Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" report to their offering. ... Smart Skin, Structural Health Monitoring, Composite Smart Structures, ... involves electronic and/or electrical components and circuits that ... such as vehicle bodies or conformally placed upon ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: