Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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Thesis (UNI Access Only)

Keywords

Witch hunting--Nepal; Witches--Violence against;

Abstract

Witch related violence is still prevalent in Nepal, especially in the Terai region (plain land). Women accused of witchcraft are forced to eat human excreta, battered and even burned to death by their own relatives, neighbors and traditional healers. Women are accused of making children/infants and families sick, killing people, spreading illness in villages (even if it is an epidemic), or putting the evil eye on food and property. News related to women accused, battered and killed for being witches can be found in the media almost every day. In my research study, I have used reports from three newspapers published in Nepal. I have tried to find out why women are accused of practicing witchcraft in Nepal. What is the demography of women who are accused? What are the social factors which determine who is accused of being a witch? Previous studies show that mostly widows and weak, sick or elderly women are accused of practicing witchcraft. On the contrary, my study found that young married women are predominantly accused for practicing witchcraft. Terai region has the highest number of witchcraft cases. Among the 66 reported cases of women being accused with witchery, 33 women are married, one is a widow and the marital status of the rest is unknown. And out of 41 cases reported with the age of victim, most of the victims are of middle age (36-50 years old). Most of the witchcraft allegations are based upon reasons like making people or animal sick, or killing people who committed suicide, killing a buffalo, casting a spell in food or drinks, making children sick. Most of the allegations are followed with battering and forced eating of human excreta which shows the traits of inhuman and ncivilized nature of perpetrators. The extremity of allegation is seen through the murder cases of eight women who were beaten to death by the perpetrators. It is quite shocking that people kill a human for the sake of a buffalo which died one month before, or a person who committed suicide.

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Women's and Gender Studies Program

First Advisor

Barbara Cutter

Date Original

2013

Object Description

1 PDF file (x, 169 pages) : illustrations, map

Language

EN

File Format

application/pdf

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