Secrets of occult and mysticism are attracting young blood, so much so that concepts like the Wicca are spawning youth clubs in India and even abroad
YOUTH is about being restless. And this time round the youth brigade seems to be more than living up to its reputation, what with their growing interest in spirituality and the occult, something that hardly found place in the list of things they wanted to explore earlier. In fact, this interest in the unconventional mystical ideologies like the Wicca, considered taboo so far, has grown to the extent that it has spawned an entire brigade of wiccans. What's more the brigade has not only grown to become a mass movement in India, it also recently set up a branch in the United Kingdom!
So what is it that compels the youth to take such a keen interest in the cosmic powers?
People like New Delhi-based 18-yearold Shruti Kant, who has been delving into the occult since she was 16, feels, “Witchcraft and occult are a medium to invoke the power within you. It is a positive force that is dormant in all of us until we awaken it. Charlatans have demeaned the true essence of the art for selfish purposes and reduced it to tantrik puja etc. But the power of occult is used only for good and for one’s self development.”
Analyses Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, famous wiccan and founder of the Wiccan Brigade, “The society is starved for genuine guidance and an insight into other dimensions. Much remains to be tapped when it comes to the human mind and even science is now exploring the mystical world. The time has come when science and metaphysics don’t differ on ideologies anymore. The Wiccan Brigade is the meeting point of both the worlds and this is precisely why in India and in the West, youngsters joining the brigade come from all cross sections of the society. Those joining now are men and women in the age group of 18 and above comprising professionals, civil servants, business people and students.”
Agrees Deepta Roy Chakraverti, Ipsita's daughter, who is the editor of a Wicca magazine published from London: “Youth today is caught in a get-rich-quick trap, and careers and relationship are both falling victim to that. I feel outfits like the Wiccan Brigade provide idealism and mooring for the individual, it helps the youth believe once again in themselves. Interestingly, the Wicca always chooses her people and it is an honour which one does not question this once she has chosen the youth to bring about a much needed change."
A fact that London-based member of the Wiccan Brigade (also called the Yogini club) Radhika Tandon, agrees with. “Such clubs have a lot of relevance in the West today, as they help women battle chauvinism and outdated attitudes. I myself have always been very interested in knowing more about other dimensions, so such a brigade was ideal for me to join.”
But more than interest in the unexplained, women like London-based beautician Babli William, another member, opines that it is the feeling of self worth that one develops by being a part of such movements. “Women in the West, despite leading emancipated lives, often suffer on a personal level. They lack balanced lives and clubs like these can help them find a way to a better and a more holistic way of living.”
But experts believe that the cosmic forces are at work here to herald a revolution of thoughts in the society. Bipin Pandey, a young astro-scholar researching the unconventional reveals a whole new dimension as to why GenX has turned to the occult. “Neptune and Uranus transits occur every 500 years and each time it happens it heralds a change or a revolution. In 500-1000 BC the planets transited in Virgo and ushered in a religious revolution, from 1000-1500 BC the transit occurred in Venus and created a literary revolution through poets and writers. From 1500-2000 BC it entered Capricorn, which lead to an age of scientific inventions and now from 2000-2500 BC it is transiting in Aquarius, which represents the youth and unconventional beliefs. So it would not be wrong to assume that the youth will usher in a change in society through unconventional movements!”
Sums up Ketan, a young businessman delving in all things mystical, “It all boils down to the high one gets on being able to predict events and look into the future. It gives an edge to those who have such a mystical gift. What makes it irresistible for the youth is the quick gratification it offers for their problems!”
Quite a magical thought that!
by RESHMI SENGUPTA
Calcutta got its first school of wicca, a western branch of witchcraft, late last year. This December, London will have its first club of yoginis, the Indian parallel to the wiccan.
The bridge between the two is the Calcutta-based wiccan Ipsita Roy Chakraverti. The other aspect wiccans and yoginis have in common is the worship of the mother goddess.
A spate of online requests from abroad to sign up for the Wiccan Brigade, which Ipsita had launched in Calcutta last November, prompted her to add a London chapter, to be called Ipsita’s Yogini Club.
“I’ve always believed the yogini and the witch are the same, and London seems to me to be a place where various cultures of the world have come together. It has a rich cultural history and an atmosphere in which the spirit of the past lives on. It is the right place for the Yogini Club,” says Ipsita, who will be dividing her time between Calcutta and London.
Her website ipsita.hellorosetta.com has received about 60 applications from “professionals, civil servants, business people and students” abroad, ever since the launch of the Wiccan Brigade. The Yogini Club will start off with a core group of 15, shortlisted after a “rigorous screening”.
The aim of the Yogini Club is the same as the Wiccan Brigade — empowerment of the individual, and development of the personality and the psyche. But Ipsita plans to customise her London lessons with specific social issues.
“I would like to introduce one or two social themes — finding ways to stay away from addictions, helping the family unit stay together or equipping single women to cope with life without emotional dependence on others,” explains Ipsita, who is also set to take her first steps in film production. The production house that Ipsita set up in August 2007 has embarked on a series of documentary films to explore the ancient, “mystical” sites of India. “The idea is to unravel the secrets of places which have been long overlooked.” The first film is The Konark Code, where the wiccan explores how the Sun temple was used as a healing spot.
By Bappa Majumdar
KOLKATA: India has enlisted the follower of a global pagan witchcraft movement to help curb the country'' high female infanticide rate and end the neglect of the girl child, government said on Monday.
Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, a Wiccan and a social activist, has been nominated by the Centre's National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) to head a panel entrusted with the responsibility to improve the status of young girls, they said. About 10 million girls have been killed by their parents over the past 20 years, said government officials as female infanticide and foeticide. “This is a triumph for Wicca as the establishment was against Wiccans for years,” said Chakraverti.
Wicca is primarily a Western movement of nature worship based on pre-Christian traditions and is recognised as an official religion in the United States. Like many pagan religions, Wicca practises magic. “Ipsita is the right person for the task as she has travelled widely, does a lot of social work and feels a pain for the downtrodden," said MSA Siddiqui, NCMEI chief and retired judge.
Domestic violence and sexual abuse involving young girls is reported frequently in the country and a 2006 government survey found that 45 per cent of girls were married before the legal marriageable age of 18.— Reuters
Courtesy: CRIN, Children & Violence – February 7, 2007
[KOLKATA, 2 July 2007] - India has enlisted the follower of a global pagan witchcraft movement to help curb the country's high female infanticide rate and end the neglect of the girl child, officials said. Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, a Wiccan and social activist, has been nominated by the government's National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) to head a panel tasked with improving the status of young girls, they said.
Around 10 million girls have been killed by their parents over the last 20 years, the government says, as female infanticide and foeticide, although illegal, are still prevalent with boys preferred to girls as breadwinners. "This is a triumph for Wicca as the establishment was against Wiccans for years," Chakraverti said. Wicca is primarily a Western movement of nature worship based on pre-Christian traditions and is recognised as an official religion in the United States. Like many pagan religions, Wicca practises magic. Wicca witches believe that the human mind has the power to cause change in ways that are not fully understood by science.
In their rituals, as well as honouring their deities, witches also perform spells for healing and help people with problems.
Miles to Go
The Wiccan campaign has made inroads into several rural pockets across India and has helped raise awareness against victimising young women and girls as witches. Authorities expect that this influence could be expanded to promote the overall well-being of young girls.
Chakraverti, who studied the faith in Canada, is planning to institutionalise Wicca in India. She has set up a "Wiccan Brigade" to stop the persecution and killing of young girls and women on the pretext of their being witches. "Ipsita is the right person for the task as she is widely travelled, does a lot of social work and feels pain for the downtrodden," NCMEI chief M.S.A. Siddiqui said from New Delhi.
"We are still far away from improving the status of the girl child and this committee will help us reach this goal and will not make any discrimination on the basis of religion and caste," Siddiqui, a retired judge, said. Domestic violence and sexual abuse involving young girls is reported frequently in the country and a 2006 government survey found that 45 percent of girls were married before the legal marriageable age of 18.
India's adult female literacy rate was 47.8 percent, compared to the adult male rate of 73.4 percent in 2004. The sex ratio in the country is still one of the world's lowest, with an average of 933 females recorded for every 1,000 males in the 2001 census. "Education of girls even in big cities was dismal and census figures show that the population of the girl child was dropping," said Chakraverti, adding that tough laws and education of parents were needed to force change."