Kaala Bandar – Myths, Facts and an interesting case of Mass Hysteria
It was the month of August in the year of 2001. I was in Third standard and the only problem I was having while growing up is over imagination. I can’t forget that day till the last breath of my life. I was playing with my friends down the street and what I saw next was extremely strange. A lady came out of her house. I can see the panic on her face. She was carrying a large bowl filled with turmeric and henna diluted in water. Very calmly she was soaking her hands in the bowl and leaving a couple of imprints of her palm on both the sides of the main gate of her house. A lot of ladies saw this and asked her what in the world was she trying to do. She replied after collecting her words –
“Arrey! Haven’t you heard? Kaala Bandar is roaming in the Rohini area only. And he can’t enter anyone’s house or roof if he sees these kinds of imprints.”
That evening I saw dozens of houses in my neighborhood with those yellow imprints near their entrance.
My Father’s friend arrived from Patna that night. He had dinner with us, but I don’t remember uttering a single word that night. That was the beginning of the terror. That night, I believe was the first night I didn’t sleep even for a minute. Even the noise of the wind that night used to make me jump out of bed. I was afraid beyond acceptance. I was imagining a strange man, covered with black hair, walking on the roof of my home.
Every morning before going to school, I used to go through the newspaper only to read the updates regarding the case of Kaala Bandar. I used to read all the statements the victims were giving with the sketches the artist used to make as per the victims’ statements. And then each day, I saw each day the news regarding Kaala Bandar shifting places from first to the last page, and then graciously making an exit from the newspapers.
Human Psychology is kind of funny. There are certain incidents that you don’t discuss on an everyday basis, but they have a permanent space in your psyche. And that incident, for me, is still alive in my psyche like an unsolved mystery.
A couple of years back, towns near Delhi were alarmed with the mysterious cases of some invisible man cutting ponytails of ladies mysteriously. The year was 2017 and what was good about that case was, news about Kaala Bandar started appearing again on the news channels after so many years.
There, they clearly mentioned that cases like Kaala Bandar, Some mysterious women asking for Onion and bread with the intention of killing you or an invisible man cutting ponytails of ladies are nothing but the cases which can be characterized under the head of Mass Hysteria.
Mass Hysteria is a condition where a large number of people can be characterized by their level of excitement or anxiety, triggered by similar sources, which is generally irrational or based upon fictitious theory. They generally start sharing common irrational beliefs about something or someone.
It is hard to comment upon the reason behind all this. Provided, I was never a psychology student, but what I understand behind all this is that we humans like the thrill, adventure, and attention in our simple day to day life. For this reason, we start supporting, appreciating, and spreading rumors, without rectifying the core source of the news.
Our nation is suffering from this habit of spreading rumors for so long now. I have no hesitation in saying this that the mainstream media of our nation comes first when we talk about spreading rumors. Many people I meet on a daily basis, I notice that their thought process is very well shaped by the news channels they watch every evening.
Coming back to the mass hysteria, if I may take the liberty to share another incident related to this, I would like to share this.
I was in a fourth or fifth standard and there was news all around that a girl from another section had lost her gold bracelet. I really don’t know why the hell she was wearing so valuable in school and how her parents allowed her to wear that. Teachers were searching all around when this boy appeared from my class and gave them a clue that he saw something shiny near the girl’s washroom. The teachers took that guy with them and everyone started looking again with all new energy.
Suddenly, our Principal came from her office when she heard about that havoc all around. She took that boy with his arm and asked him at the top of her voice.
“Where did you see that bracelet?”
He quickly accepted that he was lying.