Kolkata House of Horror: Focus Now On Partha’s Delusional Mind

Kolkata House of Horror: Challenging task for interrogators as they try to understand Partha De’s delusional mind.

3 min read
The house in South Kolkata where Partha De was found living with the skeletons of his sister and dogs. (Photo: Payal Mohanka)

As the sordid saga of an unhinged mind from Kolkata’s “House of Horror” unfurls, Partha De does not seem to have committed any crime. 

Admitted a few days ago to Calcutta Pavlov Hospital for the mentally unwell, De was interrogated for three hours on June 17. The team comprised medical doctors, psychiatrists and police officers. De had been maintaining that he would speak only if sisters from Mother House, the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, were present.

Today the authorities complied with his wishes.

Two sisters from Mother House and a father were present during the interrogation.
– Ganesh Prasad, Superintendent of Calcutta Pavlov Hospital

Piecing Together a Delusional Mind

It is a challenging assignment for the interrogators as they try to understand Partha De’s world of delusions. De holds most of the answers.

Investigations are still continuing. So far, it appears to be a different case, not one of criminal activity. Rather than mens rea, it is a mental health issue.
Murlidhar Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Division)

Partha had several laptops, desktops, five music systems and cell phones but technology is a poor substitute for human comfort and real voices. This reclusive family has paid a huge price as its members struggled to fight the demons within.

Family’s Fractured Relationships

House No. 3, Robinson Street. (Photo: Payal Mohanka)
House No. 3, Robinson Street. (Photo: Payal Mohanka)

Today’s session has once again reinforced the ‘highly spiritual’ air that pervaded at 3, Robinson Street in Kolkata. Taped sermons of Joyce Meyer, who is known to teach ‘practical Bible’ and teachings of Yogananda Parmananda filled De’s life. His elder sister Debjani, who, like him, also graduated from Rajabazar Science College, believed in meditation and fasting as methods to purify the soul.

Last year saw a further breakdown in the relations within the family. The mother’s death in 2005 had created a huge void and the relationships in the house were left fractured. The siblings were on one side and their father on the other. Debjani began to fast in a desperate bid to restore peace at home. Tragically, she was reduced to skin and bones and finally passed away. Her shattered brother clung to her corpse and hid the fact from his father. Tapes of Debjani playing the piano and singing filled the house after she passed away.

Skeletons found in the De household. (Courtesy:<i> </i>Screenshot of<i> DNA India’s</i> article <a href="http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-kolkata-s-house-of-skeletons-man-found-living-with-corpse-sister-and-dogs-breaks-silence-2096024">“Kolkata’s house of skeletons: Man found living with sister’s corpse and dead dogs breaks silence”</a>)
Skeletons found in the De household. (Courtesy: Screenshot of DNA India’s article “Kolkata’s house of skeletons: Man found living with sister’s corpse and dead dogs breaks silence”)

It is hard to imagine the pain that De’s father Arabindo would have felt when he discovered the body of his daughter several months after her death. It is this anguish that probably led him to his violent suicide.

Loneliness, The Bigger Tragedy

While investigators and doctors probe Partha’s inscrutable mind to try and piece together tattered bits of a tragic tale, a neighbour aptly sums it up. Anuradha Chakraverty, who lives a few houses away, says, “Instead of focusing on the macabre, grisly details, let us also focus on the malaise of modern civilisation, loneliness and lack of support and how families are not being able to cope with the issues that plague them. This is a classic case of a ‘bhadrolok’ Bengali family caught between two worlds. In the words of Mathew Arnold, One dead and the other too powerless to be born.”

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