Veena Das Affliciton: A Comparative Analysis

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Many efforts have been made by different individuals and organizations in order to form an understanding of illness, death and their consequent implications. Both concepts of illness and death are relatable to every human being, therefore they are widely universal topics that require a lot of contextualization in order to be able to reach to a conclusion about either. In Veena Das’s Affliciton: Health, Disease and Poverty, Das writes a series of case studies in the form of an introduction, seven chapters and a conclusion. In the first few chapters, we encounter the cases of Mukesh and his mother Meena who suffers of Tubercolosis then the case of Swapan, a mentally-ill young man and the case of Billu and the consequent deaths in his family that lead him to encounters with god-like entities. I will be using these cases as frames to explore the ‘social world’ surrounding illness and death in order to reach a general understanding of the experience of death and illness To begin with, illness and death are common events that take place in humans’ lives. They are almost inevitable, they are very negative…show more content…
The main focus of this ethnography is on Hindus and Muslims, who live alongside each other in these neighborhoods. There are many instances where both faiths intertwine in the interpretation of illness, such as the case of Hafiz Mian and the spiritual healers that the people of the neighborhood resorted to. The interpretation of dreams in both faiths also had its effect on their attitude towards illness. It was interesting to me how Billu, a man of Hindu faith, encountered a white Sikh goddess in his dream and went to interpret it from Hafiz Mian, a Muslim spiritual healer. It is important to note the beliefs people who are faithful have with the association of life after death because these beliefs heavily influence their attitude towards both illness and

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