Mayong: The shifting grounds of black magic in a transitional time
Mayong: Sitting on the bank of Brahmaputra, 43 km away from Guwahati, a small village in Marigaon in Assam has been the centre of mystery, unreal stories for centuries. Yes! We are talking about Mayong- popularly known as the land of Black Magic.
From turning a human being into animals, to disappearing into thin air, from wild beasts being tamed magically to cure diseases, the stories never end. But what is slowly declining is the craft. Many of the black magic practitioners are either dead or have left the profession. The elder generation does not trust the young enough to pass on the learning.
Prabin Saikia, in his 80s, a former practitioner of Black Magic reminisces his memories where he used to serve lots of clients in and around the country through his craft.
“Practicing the craft is not that easy. These are related to estella, time and religion, dates etc. Earlier people also became tigers. We know these mantras. I can make a fox out of a man. But I don’t know how to turn them into human beings again. Many who knew the craft better than us died while we were small.”
He said things that were used in black magic are concentrated with some families of Mayong.
“There are many mystic things that one would find in Mayong. Some of those things which were earlier used in practicing the craft are still with some family. Some of these things are buried somewhere, some were destroyed. Many of such families do not know how to practice the craft and they would not let others use them too.”
To preserve the rare history, a museum was established in the village 12 years back. It is one of the famous tourist attractions of the town.
The Mayong Central Museum and Emporium preserves some of the ancient manuscripts of Black Magic and Ayurveda and contains mythological epics.
55-year-old Karuna Das is the witness to some of the black magic that his father and forefathers used to practice.
“I have seen my forefathers used to cage a tiger. There was a tantric called Sula Das. He was a famous one. If a tiger is roaming nearby, people would go to him and ask him to cage the tiger. There is a picture of it which is preserved in the museum. Many of these Mantras are no longer available with us because some of them are considered to be harmful for the people. The manuscripts were burnt down and along with that the crafts got eliminated.”
According to him there are still practices where family conflicts are solved, jaundice is cured, and a fractured bone is treated.
“We don’t have to go to the doctor after seeing the trantik three times. The real tantriks are no longer available and the new generation only knows about the good practices to some extent. These days also if a bone is broken, the person doesn’t need to go to the doctors. Those elements are considered to be assets and so people have preserved them in a museum and also in their houses.”
Prabin Saikia, a tantric has claimed to have catered to many international clients from places like England, Scotland and Australia etc. he claims to have treated children who could not speak.
“The client from Scotland has a son who suddenly stopped talking. He asked me to cure him. I asked him to cut down a half dead tree located 100 metre away from his house in Scotland. I also gave him a bottle of water after reciting a mantra and asked him to sprinkle the water every day on his son’s body for two months. The son got cured eventually. After six month, the person from Scotland again came down to Mayong to visit me and this time he brought lots of gifts. He took a lot of pictures of mine along with him,” he said.
In another story he claimed to have prevented deaths of newborn in the villages.
The old world is in transition, the new generation is hardly interested in Black Magic, But even today, if you go to Mayong you will still find a local who would offer you palm reading, a fortune teller who would claim to predict your future by using seashells and of course a tourist wandering around just to live a moment of mysticism.