Dead man walking haunts family
Is Raju Raghuvanshi alive or dead? Ask Raghuvanshi, he'll tell you he is alive. But ask his friends and family, and they'll tell you the man you just spoke with is a ghost sent to haunt them.india Updated: Jan 17, 2006 12:22 IST
Is Raju Raghuvanshi alive or dead? Ask Raghuvanshi, he'll tell you he is alive. But ask his friends and family, and they'll tell you the man you just spoke with is a ghost sent to haunt them.
Believed by his friends and family to have died in prison, Raghuvanshi returned home earlier this month from his short jail stint to shouts of "Help! Ghost!" and the sounds of neighbors locking their doors in his home village of Katra.
"My family thinks I am dead," he said in a phone interview Monday. "They will not permit me to enter my home because they think I am a ghost."
Ostracized by the people of Katra, about 280 miles from Bhopal, he's now living in a nearby village and struggling to prove he's alive.
The best proof he had — that his feet were still properly attached, not turned backward as ghosts' feet are thought to be — was dismissed by villagers.
He said his brothers even "argued that they had completed all religious death ceremonies" and he should not have come back to haunt them.
Rural India remains deeply traditional and many in Katra share the traditional Hindu belief that they will be haunted by a ghost if ceremonies are not performed to ensure the soul of the deceased makes a peaceful transition into its next life.
Rumors over Raghuvanshi's death began when he was sent to prison in October for a minor tax infraction.
He fell ill there and was transferred to a prison hospital in another district, from where word spread that he had died and that his body had been cremated because no one had retrieved it.
After being turned away by his neighbors after his release, Raghuvanshi finally went to the police, who are trying to help convince the people of Katra that he is alive, said the area's police superintendent, N.V. Vaigankar.