M A I N   N E W S

“Jhalak Dikhla Ja..” fear in Gujarat village

Anand (Gujarat) June 4
Himesh Reshamiya's foot-tapping number "Jhalak Dikhla Ja.." in the film “Aksar” may be a run-away hit but in the non-descript village of Bhalej in this district of Gujarat, the song is a strict no-no .

The villagers of Bhalej, about 15 km from Anand town, has completely banned the Reshamiya song after several persons from the village got "possessed" while dancing to this number from the film starring Emran Hashmi and Udita Goswami.

"There is an atmosphere of fear among the villagers after three persons, who were part of a Muslim wedding procession, began to act strangely a week back", said Gajendra Jani, an elderly resident of the village which has a population of about 17,000 constituting largely of Muslims.

"They danced as if they were possessed and sang this song whenever somebody tried to talk to them. They also began to eat more than what they normally did", he told PTI while relating some of the incidents that took place in the village in the past few days after this song's popularity.

The fear about the weird behaviour spread among the villagers after a similar incident had occurred during a marriage party of a Hindu where this song was being played, remarked Jani who claimed to be a witness in one of these cases.

This prompted the villagers to enforce a blanket ban on the "Jhalak Dikhla Ja" number of the singer, he added.

"It is a self-imposed ban by the villagers. Local auto-rickshawallas have stopped playing this song in their vehicles.

People switch off their radio sets when this song is aired", said Huseifa Kesarpuri, the maulana of a mosque in the village.

"I had compact discs of this singer which contained this song. But I have never dared to play it after this strange incident came to light", said young Riaz Vora.

"Some of my friends and other youths in the village destroyed the audio-tapes which contained this song", Riaz said explaining the fear of the supernatural that has spread among the villagers.

"Those who had this song as the mobile ringtones have also changed it", he added.

"The fear is so prevalent that some of the villagers have prevented the kids from humming this Reshamiya song", said Suresh Vasava, a clerk in village high school.

"The incident happened almost a week back when some of the villagers while dancing in the procession, which was passing near the village pond near the graveyard", Vasava said. "Today, people are afraid to go near the graveyard", he added.

The family members of some of the victims refused to say anything of the matter as they feared "social discrimination" of their affected kins.

"We tried to make the villagers understand about various superstitions but we have been unsuccessful", said Sairabanu Malik, the Sarpanch of the village.

Dismissing the claims of presence of supernatural as "delusions", a leading psychologist in Ahmedabad, Dr Murugesh Vaishnav said "This is nothing but shared paranoid disorder where a delusion experienced by one person is imitated by others in a social group, especially in a village".

In a village, one inherits several cultural beliefs which are passed through generations, he added saying the paranoid thinking was also part of these beliefs.

Talking about the spread of the phobia among the villagers which has caused them to ban a particular song, Dr Vaishnav said "If one is a non-believer (in supernatural occurrences), then he or she will face discrimination from the majority. So even a non-believer chooses to fall in line". —PTI



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