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Angels And Demons: Growing Up In Bihar With Fantastical Tales Of Djinns And River Ghosts

In circulation for centuries, such hair-raising stories were an integral part of the state’s oral literary tradition.

Angels And Demons: Growing Up In Bihar With Fantastical Tales Of Djinns And River Ghosts
Angels And Demons: Growing Up In Bihar With Fantastical Tales Of Djinns And River Ghosts
outlookindia.com
2021-10-08T17:31:05+05:30

My debut work of fiction, Patna Blues, is mostly set in Bihar’s villages and mofussil towns. I wanted to give my novel a distinct flavour by incorporating socio-cultural elements unique to these places. One day, walking down memory lane, I rediscovered the treasure trove of folklores my brothers and I had grown up with. Those fantastical tales were mostly about jinnats (djinns), ­pandooas (river ghosts) and rakas (demons with a thousand eyes), and had been in circulation for centuries. They were an integral part of our ­collective imagination. Given the way our elders narrated the stories, we believed those supernatural beings existed in reality.

As a kid, whenever I walked through the streets of my village alone, I felt the lurking ­invisible presence of some paranormal creature.

We had a family myth about the guardian djinn, a friendly spirit who had been protecting our family for the past 300-400 years. We called that imaginary djinn ‘Jinnat Dada’ (Grandpa Djinn). I have been told Jinnat Dada, like...

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