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By Nurjahan Akter BornaPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Photo by Sabina Music Rich on Unsplash

Ghosts play a significant role in the folklore of Bengal, which includes Bangladesh, West Bengal, and Tripura. They are deeply intertwined with Bengali folktales and cultural identity, reflecting the unique culture of the region. Ghosts are also commonly featured in fairy tales, both traditional and contemporary. Moreover, references to ghosts can be found in various forms of modern Bengali media, including literature, cinema, radio, and television.

The region is rumored to have its fair share of haunted locations. In Bengali, ghosts are commonly referred to as bhoot or bhut (Bengali: ভূত). Interestingly, this word also holds another meaning in Bengali, which is 'past'. Additionally, the term Pret, derived from the Sanskrit word 'Preta', is used in Bengali to describe ghosts. According to beliefs in Bengal, ghosts are the tormented spirits of individuals who couldn't find solace after death, or they could be the souls of those who met an untimely end through murders, suicides, or accidents. Surprisingly, even non-human animals can transform into ghosts after they pass away. However, in Bangladesh, these spirits are often associated with good luck and prosperity.

Within Bengali culture and folklore, a fascinating array of ghosts and supernatural entities exist. These mystical beings play a vital role in shaping the socio-cultural beliefs, superstitions, and even the entertainment industry of the Bengali community. Let's explore some of these captivating supernatural creatures that have captured the imagination of the Bengali people.

SHAKCHUNNI :The term Shakchunni finds its roots in the ancient Sanskrit word Shankhachurni and holds great significance in Bengali traditions. It represents the spirit of a married woman who proudly wears a unique set of bangles made from shells, locally known as 'Shankha'. These bangles serve as a visual marker of their marital status and are commonly worn by Hindu women in Bengal. However, in certain parts of Bangladesh and occasionally in India, Shakchunnis are distinct from another supernatural entity called Petnis. These mystical beings are believed to reside atop trees and possess the ability to retaliate against those who disturb them. They are considered to be invincible and can only be banished through the performance of shamanistic rituals.

Shakchunni's origin story reveals her past as a young woman who entered into marriage with a wealthy individual. Unfortunately, her married life turned out to be filled with cruelty and abuse from her husband, which ultimately led to her premature death. Coming back as a ghostly figure, Shakchunni took on the role of a relentless spirit, haunting her former spouse. Having gone through such distressing experiences in her own marriage, she yearned deeply for a harmonious companionship. As a result, she targeted happily married women, subjecting them to her control and taking over their identities to create an illusion of marital bliss for her victims.

PETNI :Meet the Petni, ethereal beings that embody the unfulfilled desires and unmarried status of departed women. Derived from the Sanskrit term "Pretni," which signifies the feminine form of Preta, these ghostly figures are a haunting reminder of unresolved yearnings and unfinished chapters in their lives.

Penchapechi: In the depths of the Bengal forests, the Penchapechi reign as eerie owl-like entities. Their haunting presence is not to be taken lightly, as they have a sinister agenda. These supernatural beings have a knack for stalking lone wanderers, patiently biding their time until the perfect opportunity arises. Once their victims are isolated and vulnerable, the Penchapechi unleash their vampiric instincts, consuming them in a manner that sends shivers down the spine. It's a spine-chilling tale that serves as a reminder to be cautious when venturing into the woods alone.

This is the part one about ghost in Bengali literature.To learn more about this, be with me….. TO BE CONTINUED……….

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About the Creator

Nurjahan Akter Borna

  1. I am Nurjahan Akter Borna, a article writer residing in Dhaka, Bangladesh .My articles go beyond geographical boundaries, providing a diverse range of cultural perspectives.

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