Haunted Places

Letters to the Djinn: Stories from Feroz Shah Kotla

According to Moslem legends, when God created human beings, he also created Angels and Djinn. Unlike us mortals who were created from dust, the Djinn were created out of a "smokeless" fire that burnt with immeasurable heat. They were not as powerful as Angels but were not as weak as humans either. But they did have one thing in common with us. They had free will. And this meant that they could marry, have children and go where they pleased. But this also meant that they could be both good or evil.

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The rumours of Djinn residing at the Feroz Shah Kotla monument is said to have started around 1977 when a fakir named Laddoo Shah starting living on the premises. Thursday seems to be the day of business as most believers throng there on that time of the week. They write their grievances in a letter and leave it on a wall. They also burn incense sticks and candles, and leave bowls of milk and food items as offerings.

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The more experienced ones make photocopies and leave them at the different "departments" of the Djinn. Come to think of it, it sounds like they were officially applying for a request at a government office. But then again, the Djinn are supposed to be more like us humans, having families and such, therefore it is only logical that they have a ruling administration like ours.

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I figure they've made Feroz Shah Kotla their "Human interaction" centre. The main attraction, Minar – E – Zarreen, a 13.1-meter high polished sandstone pillar, constructed by Ashoka the Great, seems to be the head office with the belief that the Head of the Kotla Djinn, Laat Wale Baba, resides there.

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The locals seem to say that many families have had their issues solved and problems solved by the Djinn that governs the monument. Even the Imam of the Mosque in the area has experienced Djinn influenced moments. Real or not, the Djinn seem to be working their magic and their followers come week after week, month after month, with troubles on their mind and prayers on their lips. In other news, it was at the very stadium next door, where Anil Kumble made history by taking 10 wickets in a single innings. Maybe, he'd made a few photocopies of a request for the Djinn next door as well.

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