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Christian and Hindu Styles of Reform Among the Sora of Tribal Odisha

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Piers Vitebsky on Christian and Hindu Styles of Reform  Among the Sora of Tribal Odisha

Piers Vitebsky, Assistant Director of Research, Retired Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

Just one generation ago, the Sora tribe in India believed that their lives were determined by the spirits of the dead, with whom they negotiated their well being in dialogues held through shamans in trance.  Today, almost all young Sora have become evangelical Christians or fundamentalist Hindus. For some, this shift is a liberation as they turn from the spirits of a remote jungle to literacy, employment and democratic politics; others despair for fear of being forgotten after death.  How did the old way of life, which meant so much so recently, fail so suddenly?  What is the appeal of these new religions?

Sponsored by the South Asia Center at the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

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