In a country teeming with IT graduates

Nimisha Jaiswal points out that witches are not a form of cosplay in India.

Last week, a mob of 200 people in the Indian state of Assam dragged a 65-year-old woman out of her house, stripped her and beheaded her with a machete. They did so because a self-proclaimed “goddess,” who asked them to gather at a local temple, proclaimed that the woman was a witch and would bring bad luck and illness to the village.

People hate old women.

In a country teeming with IT graduates and higher-education institutes, such attacks are sadly and strangely common. Ninety people in Assam, a majority of them of them women, lost their lives in the last six years because they were branded as witches. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 2,097 murders between 2000 and 2012 were committed when the victims were accused of practicing witchcraft.

It’s not clear if that’s in Assam or all of India, but it’s a large number in either case. 2,097 horrific events.

Earlier this year, a woman in the state of Odisha was force-fed human excrement for practicing witchcraft. Last October in Assam, hundreds tied up an athlete in a fishing net and tortured her for being a witch. She had represented Assam in several national meets, and won a gold medal for javelin. In 2011, a mother and daughter in Assam were accused of witchcraft, and raped as punishment.

Non-governmental and social organizations, some founded by victims of witch-hunting themselves, have been working on raising awareness against these beliefs. Brothers, an organization that promotes development in Assam, has worked on in areas where such superstitions are rampant, and has assisted in rescuing and providing medical services to victims. Over the last few years, the organization has also initiated its own awareness campaigns against beliefs in witchcraft.

“People who make these accusations know the victim is not a ‘witch,’ but they do so because of political rivalries, property disputes or personal feuds,” said Dibyajyoti Saikia, the general secretary of Brothers. “The superstitious believe that the witch may have reduced crop production in the village, spread illnesses, or caused a death.”

Because crop failures, diseases, and death never happen unless witches cause them to happen.


  1. sambarge says

    Because crop failures, diseases, and death never happen unless witches cause them to happen.

    And nothing cures a witch and her daughter like raping them.

  2. rjw1 says

    The country is ‘teeming’ with IT graduates, the country is also teeming with hundreds of millions of poverty stricken, oppressed, poorly educated subsistence farmers, who are imprisoned by one of humanity’s most morally repugnant institutions, the caste system. Which India are we discussing?

    The European witch-hunting mass mania didn’t occur in the much-maligned Middle Ages, but in early modern Europe, at the beginning of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment.

  3. EigenSprocketUK says

    It seems incredible to me that “the superstitious” believe in witchery any more than do the accusers who are just cynically settling feuds. Let’s not patronise “the superstitious”; they may lack education, but they are not daft. They know that it’s better for them and their families to join in with the occasional witch-burning, and they fear the future consequences of not being seen to join in enthusiasticly.

  4. Who Cares says

    I want to point out that a lot of those graduates would flunk basic math and other courses.
    It’s gotten to the point that most of the viable IT people have been hired and that the outsourcing is now going to other nations due to the extremely bad education of the remainder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *