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- India is home to not only a variety of cultures, religions, and traditions but also several unsolved mysteries
- While some cases can be balanced with scientific rationality, these cases remain largely unresolved
New Delhi, August 30, 2017: A dilapidated Mahal with no doors, windows, food, water or electricity supply, but home to Royal siblings who have not come out for over 20 years; a beach that appears and disappears all within the same day, a girl who recollected everything from a life she has previously lived; a place where thousands of birds commit suicide; these might sound like instances from an Alfred Hitchcock movie but aren’t. We present to you these unsolved mysteries from India that would leave you puzzled.
Believe it or not, these are real-life occurrences that have been reported and documented.
There is a reason after all, why the world knows our country as ‘incredible‘ India.
India has, for generations, gripped researchers and scientists with tales and mysteries. While some of the claims have been debunked by science and rationality, many others remain mysteries “unsolved mysteries” of the modern world.
NewsGram presents to you 5 cases “unsolved mysteries” that have baffled the minds of many, and continue to remain unsolved and unexplained-
- The curious case of Shanti Devi who recalled being Lugdi Devi in past life.
In the 1930s, a four-year old Delhi girl brought the whole nation to a standstill. Reason? Only one sentence that said “I have lived here before.”
Born in 1926 in a Delhi-based family, Shanti Devi began reminiscing details of a past life at the age of four. She claimed she was Lugdi Devi from Mathura, who lived with her husband Kedar Nath and had died during childbirth. Her recollections of her life as Ludgi Devi were spotless, and were further proved right when a letter sent to Mathura was received by Kedar Nath at the exact address she had shared. Shanti Devi also recognized Kedar Nath at first glance and recalled details of their life lived together.
This strange case even reached Mahatma Gandhi, who upon meeting young Shanti was visibly surprised (according to eye witness accounts) and also set up an inquiry commission for the case.
The case was picked by multiple Indian and foreign researchers over time, who found her claims to be uncannily accurate.
The story of Shanti Devi’s reincarnation till date remains one of the most well-documented unsolved mysteries of past-life recalling in present time.
2. Siblings of the haunted Malcha Mahal
Will you be able to live in a dilapidated house with more bats than humans, in the middle of a dense forest, in the absence of electricity or water; no windows or doors with no such thing as human presence or contact?
What if we tell you there are people who do?
700-year-old Malcha Mahal is home to two siblings from the royal family of Oudh- Prince Riaz and Princess Sakina, who have since 1985 not made any contact with the outside world and strictly stay indoors.
Adjacent to the Earth Station in Delhi, the lodge was a Shikaarghar (hunting ground) built by Feroz Shah Tughlaq and was declared haunted in the 14th century after which all human activity was banned around the area.
The Begum of Oudh and the granddaughter of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, Began Wilayat Mahal was given the Malcha Mahal by the Indian government in 1985 as compensation for Wajid Ali Shah’a land that had been seized by the Britishers.
A few years after moving in, the Begun committed suicide by drinking crushed diamonds in 1993, leaving behind the wailing royal siblings. A few successful theft cases left the children aggressive, who ever since have broken all possible human contact with the world.
They remain strictly inside without proper food, water or electricity with reports suggesting that Prince Riaz comes out concealed only to get meat for their dogs.
Till date, they have only given two interviews with no other record of their presence. The spooky lodge stands tall amidst all surrounding mysteries and all you can find there is an eerie silence, zero human presence and a board that reads ‘ENTRY RESTRICTED. CAUTIOUS OF HAUND DOGS. PROCLAMATION : INTRUDERS SHALL BE GUNDOWN’
3. The sonic boom of Jodhpur
The world was in the grip of a global rumor claiming that the world was to end on December 21 as predicted by the Mayan calendar. At such disquieting times, the people of Jodhpur city in Rajasthan were startled on December 18 by a deafening boom.
The sound, which resembled a loud explosion, was believed by some to have been the breaking of a sound barrier by an IAF over Jodhpur while others contested that an army ammunition depot situated nearby must have gone up in smoke. However, these claims were immediately turned down by army officials.
When an object travels through air at a speed greater than that of sound, an enormous amount of sound energy is released which sounds similar to the sound of an explosion – the sonic boom.
What was even more intriguing was that this was not a singular event. Similar unexplained sounds or booms were heard at different places spread all over the world including UK and US that month. At some places, the boom was also allegedly accompanied with a green light.
What could have moved in the air at that great a speed? Was that the sound of testing a strange new weapon or could it have been some alien activity. And were these sounds connected? The case continues to remain one of the many daunting mysteries of present times…& its still one of the unsolved mysteries.
4. The hair-raising case of Monkey Man
A mysterious, hairy animal-like creature was rumored to roam the streets of Delhi in the summers of 2001 that would attack people and vanish almost magically. This was the case of Delhi’s Monkey Man.
Eyewitnesses and victims gave varied accounts of this monkey-like man; some claimed he was 4 feet tall and hairy while others asserted it was over 5.5 feet tall, wore a helmet, and had glowing red eyes with long claws and three buttons on its chest. It’s still one of the the unresolved mysteries.
Several of the Monkey Man’s victims were reported to have serious scratches on their bodies and two victims had allegedly fallen off buildings because of panic after coming face to face with the ‘creature’.
Within a year, reports of attacks by a similar creature surfaced from different parts of Delhi and even Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh).
Monkey Man was a menace for a long duration as kids and adults alike feared his sightings. Large groups of people carrying arms at night to fight the beast became a common sight around the time.
Some people dismissed the story as an urban myth, while others claimed the creature to be a reincarnation of Lord Hanuman. Either way, the cases and reports of the Monkey Man’s sightings died down on its own and the case was reduced to one of the many unsolved mysteries of the country.
5. The Hide and Seek beach
There is a beach in India that disappears twice a day. Don’t believe us?
The Chandipur beach, also known as the Hide and Seek beach does not exist constantly in any map. Here, visitors can actually witness the sea disappear in front of their eyes.
Located in Orissa, the Chandipur beach witnesses a mysterious natural phenomenon. Visitors may witness water on one visit, but may find only sand dunes and Casuarina trees on the next. The entire beach appears and then disappears in the matter of just one day.
This phenomenon is believed to be unique to Chandipur beach, where the sea recedes by as much as 5 km every day during the ebb time, which is the period between the high tide and the low tide. This phenomenon happens twice every day with the locals even being fairly aware of the timings of the high tide and the low tide.
However, this timing of the magical disappearance and re-appearance of the water changes as per the moon cycle because of which, safety measure have to be taken by the beach visitors at all times. This is one of the unsolved mysteries of India.
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Tenali Ramakrishna, or Tenali Raman as he is more popularly known is Birbal's equivalent in South India. A court jester and a scholar exuding great wisdom, Tenali Raman was known as one of the greatest courtiers in King Krishnadevaraya's court.
The Vijayanagar Empire ruled a large part of South India between 1336 and 1646. In the 16th century, the kingdom rose to prominence under the eminent leadership of King Krishnadevaraya. His continuous victories against his enemies ensured a successful and peaceful reign for his subjects. As a patron of art and literature, many crafts and cultural assets thrived in the empire.
Krishnadevaraya's beloved courtier, Tenali Raman is the finest example of the splendour of the Vijayanagar empire. He was born in Tenali, a town in Andhra Pradesh. He lived here until he lost his father, after which his mother brought him to Vijayanagar. He was discovered for his excellent wit and wisdom, and appointed in the court. He was one of the king's ashtadiggajas (collective name for the eight poets and scholars).
A statue of Tenali Ramakrishna near a Municipal Office in Andhra Pradesh Image source: wikimedia commons
Tenali Raman as a scholar, published great texts of wisdom, which have now become artefacts of the Kingdom of Vijayanagara. But his fame does not lie in these achievements. He is known for the mischievous jester that mythical folklore portrays him to be. Through stories, many writers have used jokes to impart wisdom and morals to many generations of people. The stories of Tenali Raman are almost legendary in the Southern peninsula.
Textbooks have been written with his moral stories in mind, and these days, many self-help book are also incorporating his wisdom. His most popular stories are, 'Mother Tongue', 'Cursed Face', 'Saluting the Donkeys' and many more. Through these stories, Tenali Raman, in some way, brought about social justice. Perhaps this is why he is most beloved by many people even today.
Keywords: Tenali Raman, Vijayanagar empire, Krishnadevaraya, Jester, Wisdom
It must be noted that different religions and societies in Southeast Asia have alternative narratives of Ramayana, one of the greatest epic.
Here are some of the versions of Ramayana!
Dasaratha Jakarta: The Buddhist Version
Interestingly, this version of Ramayana does not mention Ravana at all and in fact, there’s no mention of Sita’s abduction, too. In this version, Dasaratha is the king of Benaras and not Ayodhya. Also, Rama and Sita leaves kingdom and go to the Himalayas and not forests. Then, after twelve years, Rama and Sita return back to Benaras and get married.
Paumachariya: The Jaina Version
In this version, Lakshamana is the killer of Ravana and not Rama. Here, Rama is an ardent follower of Jainism, and so he cannot be the killer of Ravana. Also, this version states an army of warrior and not monkeys, as stated in Valmiki’s Ramayana. Another interesting feature of this version is that Ramayana is not shown as a villain, rather a magnanimous king and follower of Jainism.
Gond Ramayani: The Gond Version
Gond is an adivasi clan belonging from Madhya Pradesh in India. Interestingly, in this version, the story begins from where Valmiki’s Ramayana ended; when Sita is rescued from captivity. Also, Bhima, one of the Pandavas from the epic of Mahabharata, is mentioned in this version. Unlike Valmiki’s Ramayana, Rama is not the protagonist in this version.
Ramakien: The Thai Version
This is considered as Thailand's national epic, and is still taught in some schools in the country. In this version, Ravana is shown as a learned scholar and a noble king in this version. Also, Ravana’s pursuit for Sita is depicted as true love. There are a lot of similarities between this version of Ramayana and Valmiki’s version, but this version lays a lot of emphasis on Hanuman.
When a baby is born in an Indian household-they invite hijra to shower the newborn with their blessings for their blessings confer fertility, prosperity, and long life on the child. But when that child grows up we teach them to avert their eyes when a group of hijras passes by, we pass on the behaviour of treating hijras as lesser humans to our children. Whenever a child raises a question related to gender identity or sexuality they are shushed down. We're taught to believe that anything "deviant" and outside of traditional cis-heteronormativity is something to be ashamed of. This mentality raises anxious, scared queer adults who're ashamed of their own identity, and adults who bully people for "queer behaviour".
Hijras are a community of people who include eunuchs, intersex, and transgender people. They worship the Hindu goddess of chastity and fertility, Bahuchara Mata. Most hijras, but not all, choose to undergo a castration ceremony known as "nirvana" in which they remove their male genitalia as an offering to their goddess. The whole community is vibrant with hundreds of people with hundreds of ways of expression, the true identity of a hijra is complex and unique to each individual. In India, hijras prefer to refer to themselves as Kinner/Kinnar as it means the mythological beings who excel at singing and dancing.
Hijras worship the Hindu goddess of chastity and fertility, Bahuchara Mata.homegrown.co.in
The hijra community works systematically, the community separates itself from the outside world and teaches lessons to the young ones in secret. Each community has a guru and the other hijras are their disciples or chela. The "hijra ways of life" are taught to the disciples in a secluded environment where they leave their families and live with other hijras in the community. More often than not hijras are thought of as nothing different from transgender and often referred to as transgender; however, scientifically these two terms denote a different class of people. Hijras are a part of the whole community of people with various identities and of spiritual and cultural values meanwhile, transgender merely refers to those people whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned to them at birth, they are a part of the community and do not represent the whole community.
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Historically and culturally the community has existed in the Indian subcontinent as long as the civilization has existed. There are mentions of hijra in The Mahabharata, a holy book of Hindus. Shikhandi who was neither male nor female is a mythological legend. In another version of Mahabharata Arjuna, one of the Pandavas was cursed to be the third gender by Urvashi, when he refused to be sexually involved with her. In a story by Padma Purana, it is seen that Arjuna transforms into a woman to take part in Krishna's mystical dance which only women can take part in. The Hijra figures are prominent in Indian Mughal History as well, referred to as Khwaja Siras and known for their loyalty to the ruler, they worked as the sexless watchdogs of the Mughal harems. They held important positions in court and various facets of administration during Mughal-era India, from the 16th to 19th century. The Hijra community is a testament to the sexual diversity that is integral yet often forgotten in Indian culture.
If the whole hijra community was looked upon with enamor and respect in our history, what happened that when we come across the community we look at them with contempt and are filled with a mixture of negative, fear, laughter, and odd emotions. It's owing to the fact that under British Raj, the Criminal tribes Act 1871 hijras were criminalized and the law was made to eradicate the whole community. However, these acts were abolished by the Indian government after independence, and by 2014, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh all had officially recognized third gender people as citizens deserving of equal rights where the third gender means individuals categorizing themselves as neither male nor female. Even though the progress is slow but in 2015 Madhu Kinnar became the first hijra mayor in India was elected in the city of Raigarh.
ALSO READ: India's first Residential Transgender
Although the hijra community was revered by society and is invited to births and weddings for religious and spiritual ceremonies, they still become victims of abuse and discrimination. Violence and hate crimes against the community have become common. They are deprived of education, job opportunities, seating in restaurants, etc. leading them to live in poor conditions barely surviving. They often have to resort to begging and prostitution to earn a daily living. The government has tried to address this issue by introducing bills for the protection of the hijra community, with prison terms and other punishments for those offending them, but there is little to no less effect on the social stigma against the community.
In India, the hijra community comes under the umbrella term LGBTQ+ and we notice that they lack voice and representation when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. We need to understand that when we fight for LGBTQ+ rights we fight for the whole community, we fight for hijras who have been victims of violence, hate crimes, and disrespect from none other than the people of our society. And although hijras are a part of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, they have an independent subculture of their own. It is worth every effort to know about them, to study about them, to befriend them, and to smile at them for they are every bit of human as we are and they have nothing but blessings in their heart.