Black magic and Bengalis: The wicked narrative against women

Rhea Chakraborty, Bengali woman
Branding women as daayin (witch) is common across states but how Bengali women landed in the vortex of all this is something even rationalists are scratching their brains over | Image - Eunice Dhivya

It was early morning and a road trip from Delhi to Shimla looked inviting enough to make Arumita Mitra slip into a dreamy nap inside the car. Outside, the sun was shining bright and the trees were swaying gently. Arumita was not alone in the car. A young couple, Arumita’s close acquaintances, and their 10-month-old baby were also travelling along with her. Not long into the journey, Arumita was jolted awake by the cries of the baby. Even as the parents tried their best to comfort him, the cries continued.

While it’s natural for babies to cry, his father somehow was convinced it was Arumita’s presence that had something to do with it. “Bangalan kala jadu karti hain (The Bengali woman did some black magic)” was how he later described the whole episode.

“The father felt it was not natural. I later got to know from common friends that he alleged it was because I did some black magic,” says Arumita, a research assistant at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

But this wasn’t the first time Arumita was faced such an outrageous allegation because of her linguistic/regional/cultural identity.

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