Uttara Huddar - Sharada II
In 1974 Uttara’s life changed completely when her personality was suddenly and unexpectedly supplanted by a new personality that appeared without notice. The name of the new personality that appeared was Sharada and she was completely different from Uttara. From all accounts and from cross referencing the details that were given by interviewers, researchers came to the conclusion that Sharada was someone who had lived between 1810 – 1830 in the state of Bengal and had died more than a century prior to Uttara’s birth.
Among all the alternate personalities that I have researched or come across, I’m particularly fascinated by Sharada because of the drastic and sometimes dramatic changes that occurred when Sharada was in control.
Is it possible for two separate souls or spirits to share or inhabit the same body? The answer in short is yes. It is common among shamans and it includes changes in their voice and in their mannerisms. These changes are not exhaustive and at times they may acquire additional linguistic capabilities that are pertinent or relevant to the spirit that has taken temporary control of their body or physique.
It is called the induced trance state i.e. a state or a stage where a shaman, with full knowledge, allows another soul or spirit, be it celestial, heavenly or otherwise to enter his or her body and it is a common enough phenomenon.
That however does not imply that Uttara was a shaman, no, not by any stretch of the imagination. I am merely saying that the onset of the Sharada personality could have been either knowingly or unknowingly induced and that it is not an uncommon occurrence. The fact that Uttara was well versed in Sanskrit made it all the more plausible.
What makes Uttara special is the personality that she had induced i.e. Sharada. Before I go any further let us first look at Sharada and examine the information that we have on hand.
Sharada throughout most of her natural life was extremely devoted to the Goddess Durga and if someone were to ask me her caste I won’t hesitate to say that she was a Brahmin and it’s not because of the fact that she had a lot of Sanskrit influences in the way and manner in which she spoke Bengali (this became apparent during the interviews) but because of her devotion to the Goddess Durga.
Even today, worship of the Goddess Durga is limited only to the Brahmins in the north and while people in the south know of her, they don’t worship her to the extent and in the manner that the Northern Brahmins do. Nepal is the only exception.
In short she is not a Goddess who is popular among other castes and that raises or possess another interesting question. How did Uttara merge or meld with an alternate personality that is so diverse? I dare say that Uttara wasn’t a Brahmin because her father was from Maharashtra and her mother was from the south.
Brahmins don’t generally marry out of caste so it is easy enough to adduce that she was not a Brahmin unless of course her parents were both Brahmins from different parts of India but even then I think Sharada is specific only to Uttara and her sudden appearance was not a result of ancestral or genetical ties .
Considering the fact that Sharada lived in the early 1800s, at a time when India was deeply stooped in caste segregation, the type of knowledge that she displayed would have been only available to Brahmins.
Sharada’s surname just based on her characteristics or mannerisms alone would have been one of the following: Mukhopadhyay, Bandhopadhyay, Chattopadhyay, Gangopadhyay, Ghoshal, Sanyal, Bagchi, Bhaduri, Lahiri, Maitra, Bhattacharya, Chakraborty, Goswami, Acharya, Kanjilal, Patitunda and Pakrashi i.e. names that are synonymous to Bengali Brahmins.
Sharada was married at the age of 7. It was common among Brahmins especially during the period that she lived in to marry their children off at a young age and it was prevalent until the mid-1800s.
It was at about this time that religiously oriented or centered social reform groups like the Brahmo Samaj and the Arya Samaj pioneered work to prevent or prohibit child marriages and their efforts had some measure of success in the 1860s when the Indian Penal Code enacted rules to protect young children.
Now, I have to add that despite being formally wedded, the couples never lived together until both the husband and wife reached the age of maturity. Sometimes they never lived together at all but they would remain married or could never remarry.
One of the fundamental reasons that children were married off in this manner was to keep the religious teachings intact and to limit the dissemination of Sanskrit. It was only in 1880s that child marriages received national attention and it was followed by the enactment of the Age of Consent Bill.
Sharada was taught to read by her uncle, which is another salient feature that clearly indicated that she was from a higher caste because at the time that she lived, reading and writing was limited only to the upper castes.
Copyright © 2019 by Kathiresan Ramachanderam