Residents at a village in Dhanbad blame an evil spirit for the ill-fate of their daughters’ married life.
Sarita Singh (35), a resident of E block in Bhuli township around 10km from Dhanbad headquarters, was married to man from Balia in Uttar Pradesh in 2000, but after three years, she returned to her father’s home failing to adjust with her in-laws.
While the lawyers suggest that any woman facing similar problems should consult a marriage counsellor and patch up with in-laws and husband, Sarita feels her marital problems can’t be solved through counselling.
“I don’t know why I couldn’t adjust with my in-laws. Some evil spirit got into my way,” said Sarita, adding that her differences with her in-laws widened after she gave birth to a daughter.
Sarita is not alone. One out of every 10 women from the E Block at Bhuli is estranged and curses the evil spirit of one Mohabir for it. The elderly claim that the colony was built on a graveyard and Mohabir, who happened to be its caretaker, was opposed to the construction.
When Bharat Coking Coal Limited had acquired the land in 1972 for construction of quarters for the miners, Mohabir had put a curse on the girls that staying in these quarters they would never be happily married, the villagers say.
“Mohabir had a daughter whose marriage was postponed due to the sudden acquirement of land by the BCCL. His spirit is avenging his daughter’s loss,” said Shahid Ali, a retired miner of BCCL.
Yashmin Khatoon, Isharat Parween and Sarajaha, too, returned to their fathers’ quarters just three or four years after their marriages, Ali said.
Gaytri Devi was married to a resident of Gaya (Bihar) in 1980 but after seven years she returned to her father’s house.
“There’s something wrong with this colony otherwise women of this area would not have returned to parents after marriage,” said Jagdish Paswan, a resident of sector -3 resident whose daughter Geeta, too, lives with him.
According Paswan, a retired BCCL miner, he married off his to a resident of Siwan district (Bihar) in 2000. But within two years she returned home.
Similarly, Seema Kumari of the same sector married to a resident of Kusum Behar colony in Dhanbad five years ago deserted her husband after one year.
Activist Ajay Jaiswal, president of Association for Social and Human Awareness (ASHA) said the superstition can only be curbed by educating the villagers.
“A few educated people are possibly exploiting the superstitious beliefs of the villagers for personal gains,” Jaiswal said.
Numbers of estranged women of this area is so high that a self help group (SHG), Ladli Swem Sahayta Samum, has been formed to make them self-reliant.
“Though we don’t believe in what the elderly say, there are many estranged women in the area,” said Mauzama Firdosh, president of the SHG, who, too, happens to be a divorcee.
Psychiatrists attribute the high number of divorced women to psychological barriers. “It’s possible that the girls do not want to solve their marital problems as they look at usual marital issues as paranormal happenings,” said head, department of clinical psychology at Ranchi Institute of Neuro Psychiatry and Allied Sciences.