The Credible and the Credulous: The Question of "Villagers' Beliefs" in Nepal

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Essay Excerpt

In Nepal, nowadays, your attitude toward shamans communicates who you are. My interlocutors said quite a lot in their few words. If you can laugh about dhamis, then you do not take them too seriously. If you can find them fascinating, then obviously you do not see them every day. If you can explain what they do, then you cannot be fooled. If you know the difference between good and bad shamans, or know where and to whom their knowledge is valuable, then you know how to make the complicated judgments necessary to deal with these healers. What people said in response to my declared interest in dhami-jhankris revealed little about how likely the speakers were to actually call a shaman when sick. Nor did they shed much light on why shamans are so important as ritual specialists and healers in Nepal, or on why their power is compelling for most Nepalis. The responses I got indicated, quite simply, how a person chose to position himself or herself in relation to my connection to Nepal, as that person perceived it. I was taken to represent modernity (160-161).

Pigg, S. L. "The Credible and the Credulous: The Question of 'Villagers' Beliefs' in Nepal." Cultural Anthropology 11.2(1996): 160–201.

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