The night walkers

The night walkers

Nowadays, keen interest is being sh-own in reincarnation, mediums, ghosts etc. Morbid though it may seem, the curiosity suffuses a stagnant life with colour and titillates the imagination. Speaking of reincarnations, there are cases of many children suddenly remembering their past life leading to complications of ‘neither here, nor there!’

Recent case of a grandchild remembering its past birth as the grandfather and claiming all former rights may look humorous, but what a bewildering situation it is for the parties concerned; especially, for the surviving grandmother!

Coming to ghosts, what are they really? Dissatisfied souls? Persons with a tragic end? Or disappointed souls unable to leave the mortal world until their desires are quenched? It appears that many souls do not realise they are dead, and hence wander along aimlessly, venting their frustration in various ways.

Historical ghosts make for an interesting read. It seems the old forts of Rajasthan abound with them, replaying animosities and tragedies. One has to visit at night to get a real picture, but has anybody dared? Nor are they encouraged. Visitors are strictly warned against it.

I often wonder whether the souls of those most tragic figures of history –Prithviraj Chauhan and his love Samyukta – are still roaming about listlessly in their haunts, with the villain Jaisimha  raging at their heels? What about the beautiful Padmini of Chittoor and other ladies whose lives were cut short in their prime – are their spirits wandering about with lost looks in the dilapidated palaces? There have been some stray accounts.

Wadas (the palaces of Peshwas) have their own ghosts, too. The Shanivar wada of the famous Peshwa Bajirao has some gruesome tales to tell. None dare enter it at night, especially on moonlit nights. And, the Moghul-royalty ghosts? No less. There are people who have witnessed the ghost funeral of the last Moghul king Bahadur Shah Zafar in the Red Fort although the king  met his end in Rangoon. Since spirits can fly anywhere, love for the homeland must have induced it.

Every Thursday, the last emperor and his begum Zeenat Mahal lead a procession of their couriers and members of the harem out of the Red Fort and back into it. Also, a custodian of the Red Fort has reported seeing the ghosts of Moghul princes and princesses during his nightly rounds of the fort. Quite creepy!

The British royal family are also rumoured to have ghosts galore, the most famous being the colourful monarch, Henry the VIII, seen often in his favourite Hampton court or Windsor palace, dragging his ulcer-infested leg, while his beheaded wives also make rounds   mourning plaintively. Don’t they crowd around him and take him to task?

Ann Boleyn is also said to haunt those places and more with her head under her arm (like a hat?). Supposing Henry comes face to face with her and her head on one of his rounds? I, for one, would give anything to view that scene!

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