In search of Delhi’s fabled djinns
A paranormal walk in Mehrauli’s Jamali Kamali mosque and tomb aims to investigate the monuments.
Anyone who has seen the Hollywood hit Conjuring will find it impossible not to draw parallels between Delhiites Amit Singh and Tathagata Marik and the film’s lead pair Ed and Lorraine Warren. Members of the Indian Paranormal Centre for Studies, the two do exactly what the Warrens did – ghost-busting, though of course, with less associated drama. This weekend, the duo will lead a walk around the supposedly haunted 16th century Jamali Kamali monuments, comprising a sandstone-and-marble mosque and an ornate tomb with two marble graves, one of Jamali (the name given to the Lodhi era Sufi saint Shaikh Fazlu’llah) and the other of Kamali (whose identity is not known). It is here that the duo agreed to meet HT a few days ahead of the scheduled walk to give us a sneak peek into their methods.
“I have been interested in the paranormal since I was in class XI, but I didn’t have the opportunity to explore in Calcutta, where I was then living. When I moved to Delhi, I found this group of like-minded people,” says Marik, a mechanical engineer by profession who insists that they follow a strictly scientific method to access the presence of any paranormal entity in a given area. Singh is busy setting up some of their gadgets as we speak. While there are many gadgets that are used during an investigation to confirm the presence of a paranormal entity, for the meeting with HT, the two have brought along an EMF Meter that measures the electromagnetic radiation in an area, an IR or infra-red camera and audio recorder that records sounds beyond the normally-detected frequency. “There are two kinds of hauntings, residual haunting in which you can sense the presence of paranormal entity but it does not communicate with you and intelligent haunting in which the entity wants to communicate with you,” explains Amit.
In the gathering twilight, Jamali Kamali and the neighbouring Rajaon Ki Baoli or the Kings’ Well definitely seem the perfect setting for a haunting episode. “Paranormal is something that can’t be explained by normal logic, but we try to investigate it scientifically. All of us know about the principle of energy conservation , that energy can’t be created or destroyed, it just changes form. We follow the same principle to explain the presence of spirits,” insists Marik, adding, “India is a country of superstitions. When there is talk of paranormal presence in a place, we carry out our investigations with the aim to dispel superstitions, if we find that there is nothing.” Jamali Kamali, Amit informs, is said to be haunted by djinns or non-human spirits. “People have felt they are being watched. There have been instances of people being slapped by invisible forces,” says Amit, of the spirits of Jamali Kamali. The entrance to the courtyard where the graves lie is locked and the watchman has an interesting theory to the slapping. “If you disturb the spirit, deface the tomb, throw stones or in other ways show disrespect, the spirit will obviously be irritated and might retaliate. We have been working here for years and never felt anything,” he says.
Marik himself has never been in a place where there gadgets have confirmed the presence of a paranormal entity. “Last year too I had led a walk at this very place and the gadgets picked up nothing,” he says. Amit has been more lucky. He talks of having made contact with a spirit at a house in west Delhi recently. “A client called through an acquaintance and said money was disappearing from the house. We went there and through our investigation was able to feel the presence of a spirit. Our camera and motion sensors also picked out a shape. But the spirit didn’t communicate with us,” says Amit. Where haunting is confirmed, Amit says they use salt water and symbols such as the swastika to cleanse the place. “Spirits are of two kinds benevolent and malevolent. If the entity is malevolent, there have been cases of people being pushed or scratched,” says Marik. He adds, “People also talk of possession by spirits. But it is all psychological. If someone is not psychologically strong, he may feel himself to be under the control of a spirit. In that sense even a psychologically stronger human can possess another who is weaker than him.”
Suddenly the EMF meter beeps. Our phones have been on silent to minimise the radiation from any electronic device. The two debate whether the beep could have been because of the mobile phone of any other visitor or their own audio recorders. Amit, who has earlier too felt the presence of paranormal entities at Jamali Kamali, decides to try and establish contact with the spirits. “Is anyone there?” he questions, “If you are there would you like to communicate with us?” he questions. The Djinns, if they were indeed there, however, prove capricious. Perhaps like the watchman who materialised to shoo us away, the djinns too were trying to tell us to depart – and leave them in peace in their nocturnal domain.
What: A Walk Down The Lane of Consciousness
When: Sunday, December 4, 7pm-9pm
Where: Jamali Kamali mosque and tomb, near Outub Minar, Mehrauli