In Madhya Pradesh fair, ghosts are exorcised

The Asian Age.  | Rabindra Nath Choudhury

India, All India

Hundreds of people, mostly women, thronged Talkhamra village in Chhindwara district to ‘exorcise’ the spirits that cast evil spells on them.

(Representational image)

Bhopal: A village in Madhya Pradesh on Friday hosted a unique annual fair, called in local parlance “Bhoot Ki Mela”, where “thousands of ghosts were exorcised”.

Hundreds of people mostly women thronged Talkhamra village under Junardeb police station in Chhindwara district to “exorcise” the spirits that cast evil spells on them for long leading to their illness.

The complex of Malan Mai temple, built inside the forest near the village, was filled to the brim with women, both tribals and non-tribals, who visited the fair to ‘get rid of” the ghosts which haunted them for long.

“We perform certain rituals to ward spirits of the ‘victims’. The rituals drive out the spirits from the affected women and trap them in the banyan tree in the temple.

“Thousands of ghosts have been trapped in the tree during the fair being held for years. The presiding deity of the shrine renders them ineffective”, Likhchand Kelkar, one of the tantriks who perform the spirit driving rituals told this newspaper on phone.

Strange rituals were done to free the “victims” of the spirits.

While, in some cases the tantriks drag the “victims” on the ground by pulling their hair and thrashing them simultaneously, in some other cases, the women were tied to the tree and then beaten up “till the ghosts left them”.

Shrieks of the “victims” rented the air as the witches performed the spirit exorcising rituals.

Even the “victims” were paraded around the bonfires lit in the complex to “burn” the spirits, Ramnath Uike, a member of the committee set up to hold the 15-day-fair, said.