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The Witch Doctor of Haripa

If you go to any parts of rural India, you will some or other way get to know about a man (mostly man and very rarely woman) who will be a self proclaimed witch doctor, known to have mastered the power of Tantra and can at his/ her will control, command and punish dead souls and spirits.

So was Jatia Gunia ( Witch doctor) of Haripa, a small coastal village of odisha. He was a lean and thin dark complexioned man, with thick moustaches and  a chain smoker of local Bidi. Though one can count the rib bones in his chest but one can never overcome him in any social, political and spiritual discussion as he would end up with ferocious verbal battle. In some or other way he will link any happenings with handy work of good and bad spirits.

When someone broke his leg, falling from the tree while cutting a tree branch, he said, that person had disturbed an age old dahani who was then sleeping upside down on that branch. He would have died, but it is he, who had saved him, but he had pay a little price; hence a broken leg. Thus as saviour he owe something from him. When asked what is his due - he handed a list and at the end, a slap of rupees one thousand one. If denied or bargained, one would end up with red eye wrath of the Great Jatia Gunia. People hence prefer not to take risk, they can skip medicines suggested by local dispensary but not the prescription of Jatia Gunia.

If someone fortunes of some good wealth or have a good harvest, he would say, it is he at his will, made his captive ghosts work out wonders for him. And he is entitled to get a share of the fortune, else misfortune my befall on him.

If asked why is he so thin, he would just reply in a creepy one liner,
'Dahnai  aau Chiriguni mo rakata khanatai' ( Ghosts and demons feed on my blood).

If asked why so; he would say , in order to control the evil power and  nullify their effect on the on common people he has to sacrifice his blood. How great !

In all total Jatia Gunia's witchcraft business was at boom.

 But until the following event.

It was during the end of one winter a young man named, Sudam of Haripa got married to a Girl named, Guni form the next village. Guni, might have been in her late teens and Sudam in his early twenties both made a good pair. Sudam worked at the local Panachyat office as data entry operator. Though it was an arranged marriage but Sudam had a crush on the beautiful bespectacled Guni.  It was love at 1st sight type; he saw her 1st time when he went for a survey to her village, for approving an agricultural loan, which her father had applied at Panchyat Bank.  She was then teaching village kids at the veranda of  her house. 

It was few days afterwards a proposal was sent by Sudam's family to Guni's father and the marriage took place at the local shrine of Shiva, Lord Gorekhnath.

 It was after few days, it was found out that, Guni was bit eccentric and her behavioural  attitude was very different from others.

It was one evening, Sudam ran to Jatia Gunia and said, ' It Seems someone has possessed Guni'

'Guni, Who?' asked Jatia

'My wife' replied Sudam

'Oh! your wife'

'How old is she?'


'Eighteen is not a good age, to be possessed ! it's a even digit and twice of the odd number nine'

'I don't understand, Sir'

'It's a big science - mathematics of Tantra', said Jatia  and began counting something in his fingers and  said , 'It will cost some money'


'yes, to de-possess the demon, from your wife. It's a riskier affair, son !'

'Don't worry about the money'

'Ok then, let me get my bag'

Jatia packed a bag which contained all stuff which he claimed contained everything to de-possess a demon. He then followed Sudam to his house. When both reached the destination they saw few women were holding both the arms of Guni and her dishevelled hairs are all over her face. She was heavily breathing and making strange grrr grrr sound in her mouth.

As Jatia went near her.

Guni strangely laughed out loud and said, 'Tu aailu Jatia ( so you came Jatia.....)'

'Who are you?' asked Jatia

'Who am I? Why are you so interested?'

'Just answer directly'

'Why, am I your orderly?'

'What, you demon' Jatia raised his hand to slap Guni in her face. But as if reflex she raised her right hand and resisted the slap and showered a heavy slap instead on the skinny cheek of Jatia, with her other hand. It must have been a severe blow as Guni had a little build-up body.

Jatia was off for a moment.

In his life he had slapped many, but never ever received a slap. It must be some real stuff, Jatia thought to himself. For a moment he thought to quit but if does so, he will incur loss to his yearlong established business. 

He got up, with palm in his right cheek and took Sudam to the corner and said Son, as I said, it is a difficult case. 

' It must have been very hurtful!  even she slapped me yesterday', said Sudam with concern and asked,  'Can you handle it, sir?' 

'Hmm, I can, but It will cost you double. And you have to give half the amount in advance.' replied Jatia as he want to secure his due and after all he has to get something for the slap.

'Ok, sir how much'

'two...two thousand two'

'Ok, here it is....', Sudam handed over the money, ' But sir, make it sure that my wife get de-possessed'

'I will try'

This time Jatia thought not take any risk, he sat on a chair at a little distance from Guni and asked for cane stick. It was arranged soon.
Holding cane in his right hand and fist full of chili powder in his left hand, which he took out from his bag and repeated the same question.

'Who are you, Tell me?'

'You Idiot, why are you so interested', came the reply.

Jatia became furious and showered two three sharp strike with the cane on Guni. It must have been severely painful for Guni. Sudam tried to intervene.

'You, stay away...I am not your wife', warned Guni and stood up with full force. All who were holding her, dispersed.

Jatia felt vulnerable. In defence he threw chili powder aiming at her face. But he did not realise, she was wearing glasses.

Guni overpowered Jatia and snatched the cane from him and started striking Jatia left and right nonstop for 2 or 3 minutes.

'Do you want to know who am I? - I am Suli'

'Suli who?....and oh ! please spare me'

'When she was telling spare me. did you spared her?. You heinous cruel person, she cried in pain, but you kept on torturing and molested her in the name of exorcism.

I am her daughter.

She was a psychological patent, needed help of a doctor, for which my father had gone to consult that day to Cuttack. But, you had worsened her disease in the name of witchcraft and ghost possession theory. You know, she killed herself after the ritual, left me motherless. I was not knowing all these, just witness your cruelty. I was a helpless seven year old child. Wish father would have present that day. '

'Spare me daughter'

 'How about chest grabbing ritual? don't you want to try on me?'

Guni grabbed Jatia by his chest and made him stand and spat on his face.  

Jatia was about to run from the place.

Sudam grabbed him and said, 'where are you running, don't you see, she is still possessed'

'I can't handle it'

By then whole village was gathered and they witness the fall of falsehood and decline of the man who had made business out of it.

It was an all well plotted plan of Sudam and Guni to operate out a social cancer from their beloved village.


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