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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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We’re Turning 100!

To mark our centennial in the fall of 2024, the Maxwell School will hold special events and engagement opportunities to celebrate the many ways—across disciplines and borders—our community ever strives to, as the Oath says, “transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

Throughout the year leading up to the centennial, engagement opportunities will be held for our diverse, highly accomplished community that now boasts more than 38,500 alumni across the globe.