If anyone has lived in South Asia for any decent amount of time, he or she begins to realize just how pervasive paranoia about black magic (kala jadoo) and the evil eye (nazar) is.
Now, you can consult people (aamil) who will help others get rid of black magic, avert the evil eye, and bring back (or bring, if it never was there before) success and advancement. Learning white magic is easy.
Where do people learn black magic?
I think that part of the answer to the above is simple superstition: people believe that there are hordes of people (including and especially relatives and other people around one) who secretly and maliciously practice black magic, which would explain calamities, lack of success or wealth or advancement, etc., while in reality the reason is just life. Like, people blame black magic when the culprit is life’s uncertainties. So, white magic is a sham to rip people off, while black magic is simply in people’s minds.
A relative of mine had a very serious nervous disorder, and was basically wasting away. His father stayed (and stays) at home while his mother is a doctor. Despite nothing being out of the ordinary (everything happening to him was explainable by his condition), his parents were convinced someone cursed him and had him possessed by a demon, which demon killed him. The reason someone cursed him was because he was so popular, nice, intelligent, etc. Rather than blaming an unfortunate disorder, they found comfort in blaming their son’s condition on black magic. In one way, it boosts them (“we are so good people are cursing us”) in a perverse way.
A cousin of mine got married, and he moved to their home’s newly-completed second floor. My cousin’s wife and my cousin’s parents didn’t get along. It wasn’t long before the majority of my relatives were accusing the bad blood between my cousin (and his wife) and my cousin’s parents on black magic by my cousin’s wife. (Forget the fact that my cousin’s parents treated him like dirt.)
Still . . . I wonder if there is any such thing as black magic, and if people practice it, how and where they learn.
So, any answers?