Mayong: India’s very own Hogwarts
Black magic is a concept by which some are intrigued, some are amused but most are skeptical. Black magic, tantriks and human sacrifice seem like terms fit for movies and not reality, but a small quaint village in Assam proves otherwise. It is a secluded and pristine town which has been titled the Black Magic Capital of our country, Mayong. Mayong is a small town on the bank of the Brahmaputra River in the Morigaon district of Assam, India, where magic and mystery go hand in hand. Mayong is called the ‘cradle of dark magic’ and through this article I hope to put to grave the many rumours surrounding this little town.
The Sanskrit word "maya," from which Mayong takes its name, means "illusion" or "fantasy." Mayong does complete justice to this iconic name. A local legend claims that when word spread that witches and other practitioners of black magic had
taken refuge in the Mayong woods, their bodies were burned and their homes ransacked. Drastic measures were taken by Sultan Mohammad Shah to exterminate them. After his relentless efforts, he discovered that the jungles of Mayong were home to a secret community of black magic artists. He sent a hundred thousand riders to eliminate them and bring back their bodies as prizes. However, fate was working against him. No one knows what happened to the hundred thousand horsemen. Did they just disappear in thin air? Is the land of mystery responsible for this?
Mayong is known for its mysterious past and it continues to live up to that reputation. Along with black magic, there are several traditions and rituals unique to this place. As the name suggests, this place is riddled with its secrets and maya. Mayong also seems to be home to a host of witch doctors. There are more than a hundred sorcerers and witchdoctors in Mayong, who go by oja and bej/bez.
It is believed that they have ghosts as their assistants who help them with their work. These ghosts are supposed to do odd jobs for the Ojhas. The members of this group believe that their ancestors have passed down their skills and abilities. Those doctors have the cure for any kind of disease whether it is a sickness or a paranormal experience. The ‘local healers’ believe in curing pain by using a copper dish on the injury and waiting for it to ‘eat away’ the suffering of the person. If the copper dish gets overheated and shatters to the ground, it is considered inauspicious and the person is in great pain. The locals claim that many chronic diseases have been cured using black magic. The witches of Mayong are very much integrated into the peoples’ lifestyles, so much so, if any person has lost a personal belonging then the sorcerer comes to the rescue. A flower is planted in a metal bowl and then it is believed that the bowl will then move along the ground on its own until it reaches the location of the lost or stolen item. Along with magic, astrology is another widely practiced and accepted activity in Mayong. A broken mirror or a pot of water is used to not just forecast the future but also to unpuzzle the dark aspects of one's past.
Mayong has been the epicenter of witchcraft and all things mystical since time immemorial. A consequence of this is the variety of questionable activities carried out here, the most common of which is Narbali, popularly known as human sacrifice. Humans used to be sacrificed as a part of the worship of Goddess Shakti and she was especially worshipped by the local sorcerers to gain various abilities of black magic.
There are a plethora of spells in Mayong -
“There are spells to transform a leaf into a fish, or an evil man into an animal,” says Naba Deka, a local.
Mayong- an enigma of the northeast. The land communicates through magic, not language. Mayong with all its mystery and wizardry is a Hogwarts brought to life. The darkness and danger wrapped in an illusion of magic are what keep us on our toes. Just like its culture and lifestyle, it is no secret that the locals live a life very different from the rest of us, instead of stories, spells are passed on from one generation to another. From narbali to necromancy, from palmistry to curing peoples’ backs, trust the locals to help you with it all. It is these exotic but controversial practices of Mayong that has encaptivated people and set it apart from the rest of the country. Mayong might be a small speck on the map but sure has left a mark in the face of history.