Assam Lynching: How the Myth of Xupadhoras Killed Two Good Men

Social Commentary

Assam Lynching: How the Myth of Xupadhoras Killed Two Good Men

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

M

ost kids who have grown up in Assam have one thing in common — they are all scared of “Xupadhoras” (child abductors). A xupadhora is an imaginary figure lifted from folktales, much like Gabbar from Sholay. Stories of the havoc they wreak have been promptly passed down from one generation to another and are a foolproof modus operandi of disciplining kids. There’s nothing faster, quicker, and more effective than pulling a xupadhora trick on a not-so-well-behaved kid.

Like Gabbar, xupadhoras do not look like a society’s expectation of an “average person”. Their image — liberally twisted and modified by adults to suit their convenience — is something that children are shaken by – probably men with long dreadlocks, who do not dress up like the rest of us and live in “far-off places”.

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