SONGSOPTOK: It seems that fear is the most important primal instinct in the animal world. The two main manifestations of fear in the human society is centered around two entities: God(s) and Demons. We somehow learn to fear ghosts and spirits at a very early age and remain marked by that fear later in life. What is your personal experience? When did you start fearing ghosts and for what reasons?

KALYAN: Is fear the most important primal instinct? I thought hunger and the will to give birth. And to me the main manifestation of fear of early human being was centered around the immense power of Nature visible through earthquake, flood, fire etc, though it then changed as we progressed. Yes it's true that some of us learn to fear ghosts and spirits at an early age. Some never fear . Some start fearing at a much later stage of life. I don't fear anything unreal. My quota of fearing is full with my wife and my girl friends.

SONGSOPTOK: Very often adults try to control the tantrums of children by threatening them with ghosts and spirits. Do you remember any such incident when you were very young? In your opinion, do such methods have a permanently negative effect on children? In what way?

KALYAN:Yes it's true that very often parents do try to control children by threatening them with ghosts. But I never experienced that as both my parents believed in scaring me with more worldly objects like canes and sticks.

SONGSOPTOK:Not only do we frighten children with ghosts, we often entertain them with ghost stories. When children learn to read, grown-ups often try to incite them to get into the habit of reading by buying ghost stories. What do you think of this practice?

KALYAN: Wow. Ghosts stories! I loved them. Love them even now. I remember the first two lines of my first poem were

কালো ভূত, ভালো ভূত, ভূতেদের রাজ্যে
কি মজায় থাকে তারা, নেই কোনো কাজ যে

I knew most of the ghosts in my early childhood but was never afraid of them.

SONGSOPTOK: Adolescence is normally the period when we start asking questions about different things. Did you start asking questions about the existence of ghosts? Will you share the details with us?

KALYAN: Who said so? Human beings start asking questions much earlier than adolescence. Only the other day a little girl came to my home. She believed that I could answer all her queries. She asked me more than twenty questions in half an hour. Interestingly one such question was, " How long does a man sleep when he dies?" - which does show the curiosity of the human mind about life after death from childhood itself. I sincerely believe that the answer she receives to this question from me and others will undoubtedly shape her beliefs in ghosts and spirits. So it is us - the adults - who are finally responsible for the propagation of these ideas through generations. I don't remember asking questions about the existence of ghosts. I never had any doubt about their non-existence.

SONGSOPTOK: A lot of people claim to have direct experience of ghosts or other inexplicable phenomena. Do you have any such experience to share with us? Or experiences of people you know?

KALYAN: It is true that many people claim to have such experiences. I have not been so fortunate to have any such friend.  Once I had asked a few of my friends whether anyone had ever seen the ghost of a person about whom he or she knew nothing.  The reply was negative. This shows that the breeding place of ghosts is in our minds and not in haunted houses.

SONGSOPTOK: It is true that most of us like reading or watching films about ghosts, spirits or mysterious phenomena. Do you enjoy these things too? Can you think of a specific story or a film that really thrilled you? Do you have any favorite writers of this genre?

KALYAN: I do not have a preferential liking to these. These do not attract me much.

SONGSOPTOK: Many of us think that science still has to go a long way to explain everything that we experience on earth. Science has enlightened us about a lot of things, but there are certain areas that can be considered as the twilight zone – the breeding place for the uncanny and the preternatural. What are your thoughts about this?

KALYAN: The journey of science is eternal. Whoever is thinking that science is now winding up itself , is living in a fool's paradise. Things which are yet to be explained will be explained one day. It's just a matter of time. There is nothing unnatural in real world.

SONGSOPTOK:  We find it difficult to accept that nothing remains after death, which often leads us to imagine the supernatural. We are naturally attracted to what lies beyond the known everyday world. What is your opinion about this? Do you think that everything ends with death? Or is it because since we don’t really know that we oscillate between belief and doubt?

KALYAN: I do not know what happens after death. But what is told is absolutely illogical and irrational. I believe that there must be logic and rationality behind everything.

SONGSOPTOK: Almost all societies believe that the entities that exists in the realms that are beyond our understanding and our sensory perceptions possess an immense amount of power. But the capacity of humans is limited. So why does humans believe that the souls of the dead are immensely powerful? What, according to you, is the reason for this?

KALYAN: Weakness. Weakness is the reason for believing in spirits, power of ghosts etc. Even the believers of spirits are divided on this issue of physical power of spirits.

SONGSOPTOK: As we grow more and more dependent on science and technology, it is possible that our belief in the supernatural will grow weaker with time. In that sense ghosts and other entities are likely to have a very dark future indeed. But wouldn’t that deprive us of a whole range of feelings and emotions? Wouldn’t we become poorer in our sensations? What is your opinion?

KALYAN: Range of emotions ? Tell me one emotion that is solely dependent on experiencing ghosts and spirits. Even if one does not believe in ghosts and spirits, he or she will have all the emotions in his or her life. So don't worry.

We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen



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