Art and Culture History

Bengali Ghosts

Ghosts are an important part of Bengali Folklore. There are different types of ghosts popular in Bengali literature and culture. Ghost are commonly made part of Bengali fairy tales. Modern Bengali literature also carries their references. It is interesting to note that the spirits of those human beings who cannot find peace in the afterlife or die unnatural deaths remain on Earth. The common word for ghosts in Bengali is bhoott.

Some of the prominent Bhoot famous in Bengal are as follows:

* Shankchunni: A female ghost. Usually married women who dies prematurely and unsatisfied with her married life. According to other view a women during her married life if having an extra marital affair and dies prematurely becomes a Shankchunni. Danger: It is said that they stay in trees and whenever they see a young attractive young man she immediately catch him ups and don’t leave him till he dies.Wow! What a love!

* Petni: Another version of beautiful lady ghost. A story is regarding petnis like this, once a zamindar Babu (LandLord) named Prafulla Kumar Ghosh from Faridpur (Now in Bangladesh) was roaming in the field at night. He suddenly noticed a very beautiful lady was sitting on a tree. She was wearing a red saree (tradition Indian dress) along with a red Bindi (Part of Benagli Makeup put on forehead) and all her hairs were waving in air. Zamindar Babu immediately fell in love and she was also smiling at him. Zamindar asked her who is she and what she is doing on the top of the tree at late night. She said she is a simple girl, since her father was forcing her to get married with an old man she ran away from home and hidden in the branches of this tree. Zamindar babu immediately asked her to get married with him. She replied that she can marry on a condition. The condition was that zamindar will have to take a dive in water pond and fetch fish for her. His success was guarantee to marriage. The tragedy was that when Zamindar dived in the pond he never came out and nor the fish. On the next day his body was found in pond. People beleived that Yamini Petni has killed him who has died 90 years ago. She was an unsatisfied woman and committed suicide.

* Chorachunni: They are mischievous ghosts and usually are the ghosts of Thieves. They come out in the night of “Purnima” (Full Moon Night) and break into homes of peoples. It is interesting question that How people can protect their homes from them? Commonly believed that an iron nail purified with Ganga Jal nailed in in the door is effective remedy to keep these ghosts away from home. Also “Satyanarayan Katha” Can be help full.

* PenchPenchi: They look like owls and exist in form of couples as one is female and other is male. They keep following people to jungle and kill them and eat them up.

* Nishi : These are supposed really dangerous. They call people by their names at night. People get hypnotized and go with them and never return. Interestingly few tantrics (magicians) keep Nishi as their pets and use these to take revenges from people.

* Mamdo Bhoot: These are ghost of Muslims according to Hindus.

* Brahmadaitto or Brahmodatti: They are spirits of Brahmins. They generally appear in a white dhoti (Traditional dress in form of a loose fabric tied on waist) with a sacred thread on this body. It is said that when a Brahmin dies and if they die prematurely they become Brahmadaitto or Brahmodatti. Also if a Brahmin dies without his threads then also he can become a Brahmadaitto or Brahmodatti. They are sacred ghost. It is believed that if they bless someone; one can achieve goals. But annoying or irritating them make them dangerous. They live in Banyan tree or Apple tree. They also live in open terrace. They sometime look like Hindu deity Shiva.

* Aleya: Marsh gas apparitions that confuse fishermen, make them lose their bearings and eventually drown. They are generally the ghosts of fisherman who died during their work. Some time they confuse the fishermen and some time they help them in knowing the future dangers.

* Skondhokata or Kondhokata: A headless ghost. They are ferocious and kill humans once they feel them. They are generally the ghosts of people whose head has cut off may be in Train Accidents. But it is also easy to fool them since they don’t have heads!

These are some of the ghosts popular in Bengal. But according to my personal belief these ghosts are less dangerous than humans. Ghost in the form of Politicians, Ghosts in the form of Sadhus and Maulvis are very dangerous. Instead of looking for these stupid ghosts we should find and get rid of these socialites ghosts who has made our societies full of horror due to their wrong deeds.

About the author

Ambarish Pandey

Ambarish Pandey is currently working for PricewaterhouseCoopers PVT. LTD. in India, Kolkata. He is a Senior Consultant in the Advisory Division of the firm. He holds Engineering degree from Bengal Engineering & Science University, Shibpur, India's second oldest Engineering college. Besides Developing websites and other software jobs he loves to blog on Women, Minority Issues.

His hobbies are Cooking, Collectibles and Archeology(Egyptology), Bengal's & Punjab's History... His book on cookery in Bengali under title "Hesel"(Kitchen) has been published in India.

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