In India, belief and fear about the power of the witches have existed for a long time, especially in the regions of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, and Jharkhand. It is generally believed that women who were ill-treated by family members or died unnaturally, return as witches and hunt down and kill their family members, starting from the younger ones.
The Sanskrit word ‘Dakini’, means a woman with supernatural powers, is the source of the widespread Indian term for ‘witch’, the ‘Daayan’ or ‘Daayani’.
The word ‘Witchcraft’ has been derived from the word ‘Wicca’ which means ‘the wise one’. In the ancient time, Witchcraft was known as ‘craft of the wise’ as the wise persons were those who followed the path of nature, had the knowledge of herbs and medicines, gave wise advice and leaders in the village and community. Witchcraft, seen as a religion of the ancient and traditional pagan religion, nature which worships the feminine, earthly, and masculine aspects of God. Also considered as anti-Christians.
From the Hindu religion, many practices of Wicca and witchcraft have come either directly or indirectly. Most of the people are aware of temple worship in Hindu religion but there is another magical side of the ancient religion of Sanatan Dharma from which many philosophies and practices that are common in modern religion still exist. There are similarities of belief between Hindus and Wiccans that they believe that the soul persists after death and is reborn in another body to continue the learning process. It is believed that the body has various centers, in Hindu Dharma, it is called chakras that harbor these energies and influence how they flow. It is enough to say that the concept of chakras has been lifted directly from Hindu Dharma and implanted into Wiccan philosophy.
In early days witchcraft was seen as magical, a phenomenon that was invoked for magical rites which ensured good luck, protection against diseases, and other reasons.
Witches were the mediators between the human and the mysterious super powers such as spirits and angels. Unfortunately for the past several hundred years, the image of the witch has been associated with the evil, heathenism and sinful due to discrimination created by the Christian church. The first crusade against witches was held in 1022 AD when a witch was burned to death. Witches usually faced severe and painful deaths or punishments.
In today’s world witchcraft has been known to an extremely gender specific topic that has been stereotyped from a very long time of the study.
Each and every country of the world has gender issues and gender differences. Witch accusation is gender related not necessarily gender specific. Women were placed in the subordinate role with little to no voice in public life. The witch trials notably gave women a “useful” role and more women were witnesses than men. More than 90 percent of witches were women in comparison with men. Women were often targeted because women consider morally weak and vulnerable compared to men. Even the economic status of a woman can cause the problem. Normally people’s opinion about witches is that they are normally old, weak, and full of wrinkles, poor and sullen, superstitious and as such as no religion. It was believed that witches had considerable control over the health and life of others. They were often blamed when someone died or became sick.