Exorcisms, at least on television and in the movies seem like quite the scary occurrence. But when we see them, they’re usually done by the Catholic Church. We never really see them done by any other culture. Being of Indian descent, looking at this recent blog post on the Photographer’s Blog from Reuters is particularly troubling. Danish Siddiqi (whom the above photo was shot by) had quite the time photographing the occurrence it seems. According to him, the person perhaps became possessed when she turned emotionally weak. The exorcism process involves being beaten with a broom, hair pulling, and other physical forms of violence. At one point, a priest even says that if the demon returns, he will make it drink water from a lower caste.
The caste system, for those of you still new to Indian culture, is a form of hierarchy dating back to the days before Jesus. There were the priests (Brahmins, which my family belonged to), the warriors, the artisans and more. But at the bottom is the untouchables–and these people are still very highly discriminated against for the sole reason that it is part of their culture. Think of it as racism in America, which still happens every day.
Head over to the Reuters Photographer’s Blog to read more of the account and view Danish’s photos.