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Victim of Superstition

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Kanti Yadav a is scorned and ridiculed by a group of people led by dhamis during a pilgrimage to Kamala River for the “Ghost Festival” for the supposed clearing of evil spirits. Kanti is accused for the fainting of a woman and force Kanti to bring her back to normal.

Photo Story Category 1st, Nepal Photo Competition 2073

Many people in Nepal are still superstitious and have strong faith in supernatural powers. These centuries old conservative beliefs are still deep-rooted in the social structures of our society. They can be traced to various cultural activities among different communities and sadly, some even lead to both physical and mental abuse. Most of the time, victims of such violence are women especially the ones who are weak, poor and single.

An example of such ritualistic celebration based on superstitions is the so called “Ghost Festival.” It is observed on the banks of the Kamala River every Kartik. Thousands of pilgrims visit the site on the eve of the full moon with Dhamis as they believe that the Dhamis will help them eradicate their illness that might have been caused due to negligence of the family god ‘Kul deveta’ or the bad wishes of any evil individual in their locality. The devotion shown by thousands of pilgrims towards the Dhamis on this festival helps renew people’s superstitions every year. Thus the orthodox beliefs and traditions continue to be part of our society. This also helps the dhamis maintain their superior status despite the fact that activities like these help promote abuse in society.

Kanti Yadav is one of the many women who have been victimized of such violence. In theory, it may be against the law to terrorize her because of beliefs based on superstitions. However, this is a practice that is still clearly prevalent in some parts of our society.

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By Nabin Baral