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Curses and Oaths in Village Legal Culture (Tamil Nadu)


· Zoé Headley Ceais CNRS-Ehess (Paris, France)


07/28 | 16:10-16:30 UTC+2/CEST


This exploratory paper seeks to delineate, describe and hypothesize on the nature, content, and purpose of the use of curses (cāpam) and oaths (cattiyam) in “para”-legal documents. The documentation analyzed consists of petitions, appeals, and judgments surrounding the trajectory of conflicts and crimes having occurred in villages of south-central Tamil Nadu in the late 19th century and the early 20th century. The management of these conflicts and crimes, kept away from the colonial administration of justice, came under the jurisdiction of the repositories of local judicial authority: caste panchayats, village panchayats and caste headmen.