Life Beyond Human Perception?
Shyamala A. Narayan
BELOVED WITCH RETURNS by Ipsita Roy Chakraverti Life Positive Books, 2017, 263 pp., 595
June 2017, volume 41, No 6

Ipsita Roy Chakraverti (b. 1950) created a sensation when she declared that she was a witch in 1986. Because of her social and economic status, she was given the opportunity to explain that she is a Wiccan Priestess. Wicca is not black magic, it is like an ancient religion.

She started administering Wiccan ways of healing to the people. She went to the aid of women in rural Bengal, where it was (and still is) common for a poor widow to be labelled a witch. ‘If I had come from a different rung of society, or was illiterate, the reaction wouldn’t be the same,’ she observes, and uses her position to help others. She started training volunteers in Wicca, and this group was initially named the Wiccan Brigade; because they were ‘covering so many subjects and areas, not only Wicca’, the ‘Young Bengal Brigade’ came into being in 2013 as an organization for all her activities. She went to school in Canada; her father, Debabrata Chakraverti, was a postgraduate scholar of aerodynamics from Glasgow University, and served two terms as the Permanent Representative of India on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization at their headquarters in Montreal. Her mother was from the royal families of Mayurbhanj and Cooch Behar, and one of the first graduates of Kolkata’s Bethune College. Ipsita received her initiation into Wicca at a chalet in the Laurentian mountains, some miles from Montreal. She spent three years with a group of women studying the ancient cultures of the world.

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