14. Dealing with the Dead: Vernacular Belief Negotiations Among the Khasi of North Eastern India
Margaret Lyngdoh [+]
University of Tartu
This article will attempt to show how articulated beliefs and practices are ‘reframed’ among Khasi, using the primary tradition–trope of funerary customs in context of Christian and those who follow the ‘indigenous religion’. While death occupies a central position in the life–cycle of a Khasi, rituals relating to death are context-specific. The stereotyping and marginalisation of specific groups of people on the basis of mortuary rites will be shown through empirical data derived from fieldwork. Death is a generic resource, and this article will show how it shapes the Khasi ‘ontology’ inclusive of societies of the human and non-human. I clarify that this article analyses narratives about death, dying, and reanimation, I do not target or malign specific clans or communities. Rather, I look at negotiations as expressed in narratives that discuss bad deaths and fulfilment of death rituals and how these narratives enforce the othering and marginalisation of communities and groups among the Khasi.