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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. These days, he makes his living playing poker as he works on his second novel.




My Friend Sancho

My first book, My Friend Sancho, was published in May 2009, and went on to become the biggest selling debut novel released that year in India. It is a contemporary love story set in Mumbai, and had earlier been longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2008. To learn more about the book, click here.


If you're interested, do join the Facebook group for My Friend Sancho


Click here for more about my publisher, Hachette India.


My posts on India Uncut about My Friend Sancho can be found here.


Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Recent entries

The Bird and the Elephant

This is the 30th installment of my fortnightly poker column in the Economic Times, Range Rover. One of the most…

The Cigarette Case

This is the 29th installment of my fortnightly poker column in the Economic Times, Range Rover. One of my favourite…

It’s Only Words

This is the 10th installment of Lighthouse, my monthly column for BLink, a supplement of the Hindu Business Line. A…

The Importance of Profiling

This is the 28th installment of my fortnightly poker column in the Economic Times, Range Rover. Poker at its heart…

The Endowment Effect

This is the 27th installment of my fortnightly poker column in the Economic Times, Range Rover. There’s something strange that…

11 October, 2008

Witchcraft In India

The Times of India has a story today on a tribal woman in a village in Madhya Pradesh who was accused of witchcraft by her fellow villagers.

A group of villagers ... took the woman to a deserted location and forced her to pick a silver coin from a vessel containing boiling oil. The woman suffered severe burns on both her hands and she fell unconscious. However, this did not deter the villagers and they thrashed her badly with hot iron rods due to which she received head injuries. [...]

The villagers then dumped her outside her house. Her family members, including her husband, did not allow her inside…

Why was she suspected of being a witch? Well, two members of a family had died in the space of a month, and the villagers, presumably driven by other enmities, blamed those deaths on this poor woman. Once accused, she had no chance of proving herself innocent. A villager explained to ToI:

Women, whosoever, labelled as a ‘witch’ by the villagers has to pick a silver coin from a tank filled with boiling oil, with both her hands. If her hands are burnt, her witchhood is confirmed, otherwise she is declared innocent.

So if you’re a woman is such a village, especially low down in the social hierarchy, you’d better make sure you don’t piss anyone off. Unless you’re really a witch and have burn-proof arms.

Posted by Amit Varma in India | News | WTF

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