“Sir! Would you like meeting Baherhi Ke Mian Jee?” the Station Officer of Baherhi police station had asked me.
I was posted as S.S.P., Bareilly and had come to Baherhi from Bareilly to inspect police station, Baherhi. My wife Neerja and sons Rajarshi and Devarshi had also accompanied me. We were staying in P.W.D. inspection house. I had returned to the inspection house from the police station at about 6 P. M. and I had nothing special to do in the evening.
On my showing ignorance about Mian Jee the S.O. told,
“Sir, he lives in a village a few miles away from Baherhi. He has acquired such a reputation for curing every ailment through exorcising of evil spirits from the body that his village has turned into a veritable Mela-ground. Hordes of villagers from distant places come to get cured daily and wait for days to get his blessings. I have met the patients vouching that they have themselves heard the howling of evil spirits invoked by Mian Jee during exorcising.”
I thought that it would be a good fun for the family and we all started for the Mian Jee’s village.
As we approached the village we saw scores of bullock carts parked here and there, hundreds of patients and their attendants sitting here and there, women cooking food on ready-made hearths, and babies sleeping on ready-made beds on the bullock carts or on the ground. The S. O. had already informed the Mian Jee about our arrival. He received us cordially in his baithak and offered tea. During our tea taking he told us that this world is full of evil spirits which are 52 times of human population in this world. I was quite amused by the certainty which Mian Jee displayed about the count of evil spirits, but feigned to listen to him in awe. On presuming that a great impression he had made on me, he further added,
“These Jinnaat (evil spirits) keep on hovering in the atmosphere around us and enter our bodies whenever opportunity (like opening your mouth for yawning) arises. Then they cause all sort of physical and mental ailments in our body; and they are the sole cause of all our troubles. If they are forced out of our bodies, we can get rid of all ailments. I exorcise the patients of all these evil spirits. I shall soon show you how these Jinnat are made to leave the patient’s body.”
When it had become completely dark, we were taken to the side room which was less than 10 feet wide and 20 feet long. It had no window and had only one entrance door. Visibly there was nothing in the room except a circle drawn at the center. A chatai was laid along the 10 feet long wall for us to sit. Then Mian Jee drew a line (Lakshman Rekha) in front of us and told us not to cross this line during the proceedings lest any evil spirit enter our body. Then a patient was called and asked to sit in the circle drawn at the center of the room. Mian jee sat by the wall opposite to ours and one of his assistants came with a glass half full of water in which Mian Jee blew air from his mouth and then the patient was asked to drink it. Thereafter the assistant closed the only door of the room making it pitch dark and Mian Ji asked the patient to burp with all his might so that the ghost inside him comes out of his body. The patient burped a few times and then an eerie roaring voice filled the room. To us this appeared to emanate from the patient’s mouth. Despite my being anon-believer in any kind of supernatural existence, a chill went through my spine. Then Mian Jee spoke in a commanding tone,
“Who are you and where have you come from?”
There was no reply excepting a scornful ‘huh’. At this irate Mian Jee shouted at the ghost,
“Sale batata hai ki lagaun kodhe?’
There was a sound of a stick hitting somebody’s back, and then the bhoot capitulated,
“I am the ghost of Ram Shankar who had died of a road accident in Barabanki and I live on a banyan tree near Satrikh-Naka”, came the reply in a weird sounding voice.
“I command you to leave this man forever failing which you will have to face severe consequences. Will you obey?” Mian Jee threatened the spirit.
The ghost roared again and said, “Huh! You do not have enough power to make me leave his body.”
Mian Jee’s angry response came,
“Then suffer. Go and strike your head hard with the ceiling.”
And it seemed that despite protestations of the ghost he had been lifted to the ceiling, with which his head struck and then the thud of his falling on the floor was heard. The ghost started begging for pardon and as Mian Jee agreed to pardon him only if he left the patient’s body, he agreed to leave the patient’s body forever. Then the door of the room opened and the patient left the room happily.
Next time a woman patient was called in the room. From her body came out only a shaya, which Mian Jee described as a nascent ghost, and on mian Jee’s command it left meekly.
Again a male patient was called from whose body came out a frighteningly roaring ghost. Mian Jee calmly asked,
“Where are you from?”
“I am from Allahabad and I live in a cemetery there.”
“Why did you enter his body?”
“Because he had defecated on my tomb in the cemetery.”
Then Mian Jee interrupted his conversation with the ghost and told me that if I had any question in my mind, I could ask from the ghost. I was not prepared for this, but at the spur of the moment I got a flash in my mind to test the General Knowledge of the ghost, and asked,
“What is the distance from Bareilly to Moscow?”
For a few moments there was total silence and then, instead of the ghost, Mian Jee broke that silence,
“Sir! yeh tobina parha-likha bhoot hai. Parha-likha aaye tab yeh sawal puchhiyega. (Sir! This is an illiterate ghost. You should ask that question when an educated ghost appears.”)