Accepted Paper:

Rituals, beliefs and shamanistic practices among Bhujels of Darjeeling Hills  

Author:

Swati Akshay Sachdeva (Sikkim University)

Paper short abstract:

. Bhujel community of Darjeeling hills traditionally were animist and practiced Shamanism. However, the community witnessed disappearance of the shamanic rituals. Recently, the tradition of shamanistic practices is witnessing a revival among Bhujels.

Paper long abstract:

Shamanism has been regarded as one of the world's oldest religions. It is a religious belief system in which the shaman acts as a faith healer and is believed to communicate with the spirit or control them for the benefit of the community. Bhujel community who traditionally were animist, where the Shamans had predominant role in all socio- cultural and religious practices. This ethnic hill community is settled across southern slope of the Himalayas both in Nepal and India. A significant number of the Community has been residing in Darjeeling Hills and Sikkim. However, due to the absorption in predominant Hindu culture, conversion to other religion, introduction of modern medical facilities and rational based education, the community witnessed disappearance of the shamanic rituals and traditional medicine man (Shamans). Nevertheless, in recent times, with the trend and process of re-tribalisation, the tradition of shamanistic practices is witnessing a revival among many communities including the Bhujels. The aim of the paper therefore is to explore and do an in-depth study on the Shamanistic rituals and practices and highlight their significance in rites de passage, beliefs and religiosity . The paper will also highlight the effort of the community to retain and preserve the traditional values and culture in preserving their socio- cultural distinctiveness.

Panel MB-SSR06
Shamans, senses and synaesthesia: the art of vision