Paranormal is a perennially debated topic. However, one may love it, or hate it, but is difficult to ignore it especially when you keep hearing stories of a certain, place, person, or thing which lies in your proximity. The quaint little village called Begunkodar in the Purulia district of West Bengal is associated with one such story. The village has a railway station which is apparently going dysfunctional in 1967, as it is said the same is “haunted”. It became a talk of the town then and again in the recent past in 2009, when it was repainted to give a new fresh look to be opened yet again.
The railway station was opened when Ms. Mamata Banerjee took charge of West Bengal as its Chief Minister. Although the railway station was opened with much gung-ho yet, the spine chilling experience that many have had in the past doesn’t stop going around putting the public in apprehension about this act. So, tracing the history, the story goes like this. The place has its roots on a queen from the Santhal tribe who facilitated establishing it way back in 1962. The locals at the time, were too elated to have train connectivity, as until then their nearest station was 43 km away. All was well until a designated guard was found dead in mysterious condition. It was rumored that he saw something unusual. A lot of investigation happened but, nothing candid could be concluded. Was it a ghost that he saw or it might be some local goons trying to create fear psychosis around, no one could know.
There were a lot of theories surrounding the reasons given to close down the station 42 years ago. Some say it was a naxal trick to shoo the authorities away, some say it was a deliberate move by the non-tribals to let the tribals be disconnected and stuck at agricultural jobs.
However, even now when the new Begunkodar railway station is up and running, acting as a lifeline for many commuters, some people do not want to be posted at this particular railway station. One of the practical reasons could be, the location which is naxal infested, as the area falls as a border to West Bengal and Jharkhand. Another reason could be that no one likes to be posted in a deserted area which minimal population and no- recreational life around. Anyway, interestingly, over the last five decades, Begunkodar railway station irrespective of its functionality kept making news. Either through the alleged lady ghost terrifying people or the CM trying to shun the myths away, the talk of this tribal village refuses to subside. It is still believed that one should leave the place before it turns dark in the evening.
An eerie silence envelope this place post 5:30 pm every evening. Gushing winds making weird sounds through the paddy fields and thick forest area surrounding it, make it look more haunted. More so because the area is so marginally populated that even during day times one can hardly be bumped into a human or two.
The rumors on the railway station have prevented permanent railway staff being settling down. No railway staff is willing to spend a single night here. The single-story building accommodating a single room is the only structure the station has. The building hosts pictures of various Hindu Gods to ward off evil and local people enter the station only after a daily puja. There are no platforms to board or alight on and off the train. Three trains- Up and Down running every day that cross the station, stop here for barely a minute or two. Moreover, as in the absence of permanent employees at the station, the station still suffers in its status.
Begunkodar, which falls under the Ranchi division, has a skeletal temporary staff that gets INR 1 as commission for every ticket sold here. As passengers do not prefer going to or coming from the station post at 6 pm, the last train that stops here is scheduled at 5.45 pm. Interestingly, the station master arrives at the station half-an-hour before the first train of the day pulls in, at 9.36 am, and opens the ticket counter and runs back exactly at 5.45 pm every day murmuring a prayer to save his life from the alleged ghost. Accompanying him is a tea and snacks seller who also pushes off at the same time every evening.
The station has been running like this for the last more than ten years. No one knows the truth, no one tries to find out too. Until the mystery unfolds, the tag of Begunkodar being a haunted railway station would continue to persist- ghost or no ghost.
By Soumyadeep Khan, Purulia, West Bengal, India