Les rondes de saint Antoine. Culte, affliction et possession à Puliyampatti (Inde du Sud)

Abstract : The study of the shrine of Puliyampatti deals with two topics: indigenization of Catholic practices in India; management of the psychogenic troubles in the society characterized by medical pluralism and possession cults. The link between these two topics is the figure of Saint Anthony of Padua. In India, this Portuguese saint has a status of a lineage deity and a reputation for exorcism. This double specialty attracts pilgrims and patients to Puliyampatti, where they perform certain devotional and ritual practices borrowed from Hinduism, but directed to Saint Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of the shrine. The clergy tolerates these religious practices, but he objects to exorcism. The exorcism rites established in Puliyampatti are informal and carefully observed by the relatives who accompany the patients suspected of spirit possession or sorcery victims. The relatives possess a fundamental role in the process of therapy. On the basis of the biographical events and/or medical diagnosis, it is the relatives of the patient who determine that the troubles are of a supernatural origin. However, this etiology requires proof. In order to confirm their opinion, they exert pressure on the patient, even physically abuse him/her, until the patient clearly starts to manifest the signs of possession. Depending on the nature of his/her disorders, the patient can accept to yield to their wishes and this first experience is the beginning of a long series of possessions increasingly frequent and violent.
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Brigitte Sébastia. Les rondes de saint Antoine. Culte, affliction et possession à Puliyampatti (Inde du Sud). Anthropologie sociale et ethnologie. Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), 2004. Français. ⟨tel-00780571⟩

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