What are your views on totkas and bandhana where one just cannot do anything one wants to do? That was the single, surprising question in a recent e-mail. It was surprising  because the mail was from Kavita, a strong individual who is exceptionally creative and grounded, disinclined to believe in something like black magic based totkas and bandhanas unless there is enough substance to warrant such a belief or for that matter, raise flighty, unnecessary queries.  Curiously, Kavita’s query reflects the very real totka, black magic concerns of a very large and steadily growing cross section of people from India and abroad.  In fact, Kavita’s query takes one back to ancient times and the startling realisation that ages ago too, black magic was a powerful force of absorbing interest to many people in different regions, so much so that they were willing to invest even precious gold into black magic pursuits.

In 2016, NBC reported that archeologists had discovered curse tablets in ancient Roman tombs at the impressive 1,100 acre Viminacium site in Serbia. The territory was under the Romans and later the Byzantines for about 600 years, from the first century BC until the sixth century. April Holloway pointed out in “Ancient Origins” that these were the first known gold curse tablets. “The tablets contain inscriptions in long-forgotten languages with strange magical symbols calling upon both gods and demons to unleash ill-health, punishment, and death upon enemies, unrequited lovers, bad neighbours and relatives…”

Miomir Korac, the chief archaeologist at the Viminacium site, told NBC News:”This is a very important archaeological discovery because it shows us… how much hope they had in the ‘curse tablets’ so that they used precious metals. According to my knowledge, such tablets have never been found inscribed in gold anywhere. According to the Roman customs, gold was never put into graves.” The wishing of ill-health and death on a person is typical of many Roman curses and some of them reveal the intensity of the victim’s anger, wrote Holloway. In the ancient city of Amathus in Cyprus, a curse tablet was found in 2008 bearing the inscription: “May your penis hurt when you make love.”

In our times, amongst numerous instances, noted director-producer Mahesh Bhatt claimed that black magic is prevalent in Bollywood shortly before the release of his  thriller Raaz 3, which was  inspired partly by the Bollywood grapevine on how some actresses use black magic to be in the limelight and partly by the life of an actor from South India who is said to have  used Satanic powers to enhance his career. In other countries too, stories are legion about celebrities using black magic both to promote themselves and spike their competitors or rivals.

In my experience, these days especially, black magic or kala jadu, jadu-tona, is used to a surprisingly large extent to ruin or block someone else’s progress. Business rivals, politicians often use it against each other, highly placed professional executives sometimes use it to “cut” someone’s “influence”,  relatives use it against each other, especially in property cases, even employees use it to gain control over their boss. It is usually called “bandhana”—kisi ne uska kaam or business bandh diya, or kisi ne usko bandh diya.

In each case, the person who goes in for kala-jadu  pays a hefty price for getting it done, usually through a tantric—that is partly why the word tantric has such negative connotations. The tantric asks for the name and other particulars, and “prepares”, through the use of mantras—usually tamsic “phat” mantras and/or aghori mantras and certain ingredients, a small package that has to be left in the house or working premises of the person who is the target.

Some tantrics give something that has to be fed to the targeted person. This usually becomes effective when it is fed to the person in food or liquid that is white coloured such as barfi or kheer, in paan, or with a pair of cloves. The most powerful form of kala jadu is where the kala jadu package or object such as bones is buried in the premises of the targeted person or where something has been fed to her/him. Sippli is the favoured form of most tantrics. Invariably, bones—either animal or human—depending on how strong the kala jadu is are a part of the ingredients. Blood is often used if an animal has been sacrificed.

Removing such kala jadu is called kaatna—the kala jadu through which a person or work has been “tied up”—bandhana—has to be cut. Satwik mantras or siddhis are used to do this and it is easier if the package prepared by the tantric can be located and removed or “neutralized”. I’ve written earlier about how, in Delhi’s Okhla Industrial area where many printing presses were located, a printing press owner had ordered the latest 4 colour offset printing press. Other press owners feared he would take away all their business, so they got together and paid a tantric and got a “packet” prepared, and bribed one of the workers of the press where the 4 colour offset printing press was to be installed.

The bribed worker put the packet linked to a jinn in a space he made in a newly cemented wall. The new printing press just would not start from day one. Something or the other would break down. Not only that, all the older printing machines and computers had frequent problems. Workers began falling ill. Losses mounted as orders stopped coming because the printer couldn’t deliver on time. Ultimately, we were able to locate the packet in the wall and remove it but removing the jinn took several more weeks. There have been many other incidents where we have located objects which have been buried on the premises, or inserted in a drain pipe on the roof. We removed the tantric objects but removing the “live” spirit energies with them has generally taken much longer.  

When removal of kala jadu or a spirit linked to kala jadu takes place, the negative effects usually fall on the person who has got it done in the first place and he or she begins to face ruin. If a kala jadu packet is found in a home or office, one should never touch it or open it. Instead, call in somebody who is familiar with the paranormal to handle it. Like it or not, right or wrong, black magic has always been, still is, and is likely to remain an extremely powerful force primarily because while it makes nightmares come true for some, it also makes dreams come true for others. 


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