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Additional info for Hindi Structures: Intermediate Level, with Drills, Exercises, and Key

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13 In contrast to temple functionaries generally, most of the healers operating in Mehndipur are extremely charismatic. Many of them become possessed by benevolent spirits (duts), which are frequently said to be messengers and servants of Balaji. Indeed, some healers claim that the monkey god himself also possesses them. Those who do not become possessed usually work with a medium, a person through whom a curer communicates with helpful spirits as well as with malevolent ghosts. All practitioners, whether they become possessed or not, are known as bhagats.

4 Ailments that are ascribed to the work of supernatural agents in fact are clearly distinguished by pilgrims from ailments that are said to arise as a result of factors such as faulty diet or faulty regimen; and when an illness does not respond to allopathic medicine and/or to a variety of traditional therapies, this itself is taken as a sign that supernaturals are likely to be involved. The logic of attribution here, however, should not be seen as some kind of unscientific lapse in native thought, as involving a flight into the irrational (cf.

A diverted) sorcery attack. In the former case, person A is said to be harmed by his or her enemy, person B. In the latter case, by contrast, person C, who is an essentially innocent victim, is injured; and this is thought to occur because B may try to get at A by afflicting C, or because the third party in the triad is harmed inadvertently. Now, with respect to pilgrims interviewed in Mehndipur, sorcery was suspected or identified as the cause of adversity equally by both men and women, though married persons claimed to be the object of direct 28 S U P E R N AT U R A L M A L A I S E A N D A F F L I C T I O N attack far more than single persons.

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