They say no one can scare an Indian politician, not even the Gods. But it seems Ghosts can! Remember, former Bihar Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav, son of Lalu Prasad Yadav, vacated his government bungalow calling it “haunted” and accusing his political rivals of “letting out ghosts”? Well, now we have another haunting, but this house cannot be vacated as it’s the Rajasthan Assembly.
Yesterday, law-makers in Rajasthan wanted Speaker of the House to complete the proceedings before noon because the House was haunted and they were planning a purification ritual!
A few of the Rajasthan law-makers even accused ghosts of abetting the murder of their colleagues! They said two MLAs had died in a span of 6 months because of the “bad spirits” in the House.
Some of them implied that the government is responsible for the haunting because, a part of the Assembly is built on an old cremation ground. Now the Rajasthan CM is expected to perform a yajna to vacate the illegal residents.
But this is not the first time a government arm has had ghost problems. Many may remember in 2014 in our own city, a court hall was locked up fearing it was haunted by the spirit of the Judge, who was holding court there. The Judge had recently died in a road accident.
Soon people started calling this court room as ‘ghost room’. In fact, a group of lawyers had even released a press note condemning rumours and suspected that some mischief-mongers were trying to sully the good name of the deceased Judge.
Unable to get people into the room, astrologers were consulted. They suggested that the court hall remain locked till special pujas were performed to vacate the ghost Judge. The hall was locked up for 4 years and only opened 4 months ago!
Sometimes people use ghost as an excuse or to seek attention. Last year in Uttar Pradesh Police launched a search for ‘barber ghost’. They did this after dozens of women reported waking up to find their hair cut off. Later it turned out women were cutting their own hair either consciously or in an altered state of mind, intended to seek attention according to Dr. Sudhir Khandelwal, former Head, Department of Psychiatry at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
But when it comes to ghosts, West Bengal seems to have the most variety and stories. To name a few, they have Skondhokatas, headless ghosts; Brahmodaittyo, the ghost of a Brahmin who is helpful but rude; Shakchunnis, ghosts of married women who wear clinking bangles; Petnis, women who died with unfulfilled desires. There is even a skull-capped Muslim ghost named Mamdo. They also have a fish ghost which steals fish called Mechho bhoot.
In South India, the most popular ghost is Mohini. In Karnataka, we call it Mohini Devva. She is a female devva (ghost) who is usually found wandering along lonely stretches of road. It is believed women who commit suicide without having found a romantic partner or experiencing physical pleasure return as Mohini to find romance and pleasure. The only way a man can ward off this evil spirit is to spit three times on the ground or look away from her. But if you look at her you will be bewitched and then you will start withering away, growing thin and finally die spitting blood.
This story sounds like an awareness campaign — you meet a seductive woman on a highway, she seduces you, you make love to her, then you die spitting blood — sounds like it’s a message for lorry drivers and horny highway warriors — beware of AIDS.
Unfortunately, there is no male version of Mohini. There is no Mohan Devva, a man who seduces women. We bet all men would love to die and become Mohan Devva. If that happens, Katrina Kaif’s house will turn into a bhoot bungalow.
Now, people who speak of ghosts are generally considered ignorant, but in Mysuru Infosys campus it is rumoured that Hostel Number 79 is haunted. A rumour obviously started by modern tech-minds.
This rumour not only spread amongst Infosys employees but split over to the cyber world. So much so that Infosys Mysuru campus Hostel Number 79 is named on a list titled ‘10 haunted places in India’!
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, you love a ghost story. The point is ghost stories are exciting and gives us an adrenalin rush. It’s like watching a horror film, screaming with fear and then when it’s over we feel a sense of relief and happiness to go back to our normal horror-free lives.
Fear is a exhilarating in small doses. Be it a thrilling ride on a roller coaster or a ghost story. This could be because it allows us to be pure like a child for a moment. See infants don’t have the concept of fear. You play peek-a boo, they laugh; they don’t get scared.
Also it is nice to think that our loved ones have not completely left us. It is comforting to know that they are there “in Spirit”. It also brings about a sense of immortality when you believe that you could live beyond your death even if it is a fishy ghost or Mohini. Best would be as Mohan !!