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Volume 2 Issue 12

July 2015

Witchcraft Accusations and Women Scapegoating: A Study of Mahasweta Deviís Bayen
Dr. Shuchi Sharma, 
Assistant Professor, 
University School of Humanities and Social Sciences, 
Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, 
New Delhi, Delhi, India
Abstract
Mahasweta Deviís oeuvre critiques the social and state practices that serve to oppress, subjugate and torment the gendered subalterns who are subsumed within the discourse of class. A grass-root political and social activist and writer, Devi, evinces how establishment, superstition and hegemonic patriarchal forces collude to engineer the subaltern position of poor, low-caste woman Chandidasi, who is denied basic socio-corporal agency after being falsely accused of being a bayen (witch). According to National Crime Records Bureau data, each year hundreds of people are murdered in rural India in the name of witch-hunt. Branded as daayan, dakan, chudail, tonhi or a bayen, both men and women are oppressed, humiliated, assaulted, ostracized and killed in the name of superstition in order to explain illness, sudden or unexplained death, epidemics, bad crops etc. It is noteworthy that most of the victims of such crimes in India are women. In majority of the cases witch-hunts are ploy to settle personal scores, a mean to acquire the victimís land or property, and most often, a punishment for denying popular diktat of the patriarchal society. Just like Chandidasi, women are made scape-goats in the whole process of witch-hunts. The paper attempts to probe the mechanism and gendered pattern of witch-craft accusations in India in the light of predicament of Chandidasi in Mahasweta Deviís Bayen.
Keywords
Witch-craft; Subaltern; Scape-goat; Gender; Violence.
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Progressive Publishers is a novice publishing enterprise located at Tranquebar, Tamilnadu, India. It primarily publishes university text-books for efficient English language learning and an online scholarly journal entitled Literary Quest. Its primary goal is to promote progressive, secular, socialist and egalitarian thoughts among academicians, researchers and students of English literature. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Social Justice are the ideals upon which the whole enterprise rests.