January 12, 2021

‘RANTAS’ (A Mysterious Creature): Myth or Reality

The term ‘Rantus’ is a Kashmiri metonym for witch, but not your everyday that is often described as flying on a magical groom, scaring people with her screechy coming. The very word ‘Rantus’ has caused the Kashmiri people to quiver with fear since ages and continues to do so even now, as the description of her appearance first in the form of a beauty unparalleled to allure men and then finally taking their heart out alive really quails and shudders those who hear about her. It has been narrated in the tales from the folklore of this paradise, called Kashmir, that even the howling wolves and other fear striking creatures fright her coming and disappear leaving the hunted from their mouths so that they don’t become prey themselves. Such is the horror of her wrath that when she has the possession of her desires in her sharp fangs, there is no option left other than groveling before her. The eyes of her real face are parallel to her nose and it is believed that she is a master of disguise, and there is no other way of getting hold of her reality other than her feet that would always be in the reverse direction. She is also known to have a black cascade of long hair reaching down to her ankles. ‘Rantas’ is a mythical creature (A Witch) in kashmiri folklore. It is believed that ‘ Rantas’ is a female hag that dwells in deep woods and snowy mountains. ‘Rantas’ is known for abducting men and children from their homes and prejudiced murder of women. As for the appearance, it is said that Rantas has long hair extending down to her feet, bestial teeth, extended arms and feet with sharp pointed claws on the fingers. Besides it is believed that toes of her feet are turned backwards. It is said that hers chests sag down to her knees and though walks in a crooked she possesses inhuman bodily strength. It is also believed that Rantas abducts man and then she keeps as her prisoner and then later marries him. Rantas mourns the loss of her man. We all must have read thousands of articles describing natural splendor of Kashmir and how it is the true symbol of ‘heaven on earth’. But how many of us are aware of the stories that haunt people who live in the valley of Kashmir. There are so many haunted tales of Kashmir. The deep stunning valleys of Kashmir hold more, something that we can’t see, understand, or describe in words but can only feel crawling on our skin and seeking home in the darks of our mind.

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Recently during the snowfall people in south Kashmir’s Pulwama area heard frightening cries and people started believing that ‘Rantas’ was roaming in the area. It created panic and horror in the whole area. Later the news proved to be a hoax. Some people in order to do fun and earn fame take advantage of folklore crossed all limits which is totally unbecoming.
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Some Places Which Are Believed To Be Haunted: There are many places that have been explored and found haunted by interested in paranormal activities. The haunted tree: There’s a strange looking tree on the way to Gurez from Srinagar, which is believed to be evil. People say that the tree is haunted and if anyone touches it on the night of amavasya (half-moon day), he/she will be possessed by evil spirits.
Khooni Nala:The name itself sounds scary enough! There’s a stretch on Jammu Kashmir Highway, just before passing through the Banihal tunnel, which is infamously known as Khooni Nala. The place got its name because of several road accidents that happened here and the entire stretch is believed to be haunted by other-worldly spirits. People claim to have seen a woman clad in a black saree carrying a baby in her hand and asking for lift. If people ignore her, she curses them and they eventually die in road accident. There are some other places which are believed to be haunted by some supernatural powers. We have also heard from our ancestors saying that there were encounters of people with this mysterious creature in some isolated or remote places. Recently during the snowfall people in south Kashmir’s Pulwama area heard frightening cries and people started believing that ‘Rantas’ was roaming in the area. It created panic and horror in the whole area. Later the news proved to be a hoax. Some people in order to do fun and earn fame take advantage of folklore crossed all limits which is totally unbecoming.
( The author a teacher @ Department of Education is presently posted at Govt High School Brakpora Anantnag. Views are his own)
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