Comparison of witchcraft traditions between Nordic countries and the
Dr. Alok Chantia,
Dept of Anthropology,
Sri JNPG College
The word human includes both man and woman, but upto 1929 woman was not
considered equivalent to man and this situation brought about the worst scenarios in the
woman’s life, of which witchcraft was one of them. Witchcraft is a psychological
problem of the male dominated society. It is found prevalent in all the corners of the
world. In the present paper I have tried to explain that how this tradition in the Indian
context is different from that prevalent in the Nordic countries.
The tradition of witchcraft is very old in the Indian peninsula, but here a woman is
declared as a witch for the following causes:
1. Sexual matters
2. Land dealings
3. Causal maters
4. Social institution based matter
The tradition is very frequent in this peninsula, even though it has been declared an
offence. A fine of Rs.2000/- and six-month imprisonment is imposed on the accused. The
witch tradition is not only concentrated in the villages as in the Nordic countries but also
in the urban areas.
It has mainly three forms in the following manner.
1. Urban witch tradition
2. Rural witch tradition
3. Tribal witch tradition
The term witch is not suitable in the Indian context. Here the woman, who is suspected to
be a witch is known as a chudale, dayan, etc, which is different in many respects. A
woman who is a dayan is not considered bad as in the Nordic countries. Whether the term
witchcraft is suitable in the Indian context or not? What is the difference between “witch”
and dayan? How are dayan categorized into different levels? When it is considered as an
offence and when not?