Despite great innovations in medical science, there is something in Kashmir that remained unchanged i.e. faith on traditional healers. In Kashmir, The traditional practice of faith healing is being practiced from decades. There are some of the practitioners who are thronged by believers seeking treatment for anything from dog bites to jaundice.
These faith healers are devoted to the prosperity of the suffering. You may have heard tales of Hakeem’s from your grandparents. In fact, a few decades back faith healers used to be the main stop for people tormented with several diseases and many would knock up the doors of some religious devotees “Peers” after feeling disappointed from practitioners of modern medicine.
Though with the introduction of various technologies in medicines many people may have shifted to the modern treatment there are still some believers who repose faith healing.
“Bulbul Nowgham”, very few people might have heard about this village. But on Sundays, this small village comes to life with the people moving towards the small mud house located on the end of the road.
Once you will enter this house through the broken wooden gate, you can find hundreds of people, mostly women and young girls, sitting impatiently waiting for their turn to enter the main building.
A small stout man in his thirties is controlling the crowd with a small stick. People from far-flung areas are here to seek spiritual healing from Peer Sahab. A person whose turn comes is sent to another house which is a lawn away from the waiting place. Amin sahib a spiritual healer is examining the patient in his dark room. He is kow for curing dog bites with his spiritual powers and known among his acolytes as Peer Sahab.
Dog bite patients are given preference as they are allowed to visit Peer Sahab any time throughout the week. Even On Sundays, they are treated first.
While waiting outside, everyone is trying to convince the gatekeeper to let them go first. Meanwhile, women in cranky voice asked gatekeeper to allow her daughter to go inside
“We are waiting since from morning, my daughter is not well. Some evil spirit has taken possession of her body. “Says a woman while giving bizarrely look around, fearing that the people might get afraid.
A dark corridor with spiral wooden staircase will take you to Peer Sahabs room. The room is crammed with patients, women on the left and men sitting in a line on the right side of the room.
Amin Sahab, a middle-aged man wearing white coloured clad is sitting In the center of the room against the only visible window. He is very keenly observing Sumaira’s leg where a fresh dog bite mark was visible. After examining the wound he is gently applying clay o his leg. While rubbing her would softly Amin Sahab is continuously reciting something. For a brief moment, this small dark room full of people is so silent that even the blinking of eyes can cause a nuisance. Peer Sahab, took a piece of paper and wrapped some sweet sugar balls “Shereen” mixed with clove and black pepper, and is giving them to Sumaira. She is being strickly instructed to add this mixture with her meals. The treatment of the dog bite lasts for seven weeks. And Peer Sahab strongly says any dog bite patient not to miss even a single sitting. Otherwise, things could get worse.
“It is important for a dog to bite patient to complete the session otherwise it is possible for him/her to get infected,” he said while turning to me. “No doubt there is science, there is technology but there is also something know as faith.”
“In the last twenty years, not even a single dog bite patient has complained of any complications. They all have full faith on Peer Sahab and his treatment,” Says one of the attendants who is sitting behind a wooden desk “We have full faith in him, there are many healing secrets with Kashmiri tradition and that is why it is known as Peereh Waer.”