City Secret – Blood Letting, Rahat Open Surgery
Old Delhi cure.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Kamini Khatoon lives in Amroha, a small town near Delhi. She was suffering from body ache for many years. Ms Khatoon consulted doctors, visited hospitals, tried allopathic and homeopathic medicines. She also travelled to sufi dargahs. The pain did not leave. Then someone suggested visiting Rahat Open Surgery, an open-air clinic under the shadow of Jama Masjid in Delhi. (Rahat means ‘relief’ in Urdu).
Mohhamed Gyas is a soft-spoken man in his 70s. The hakeem made Ms Khatoon stand in the sun for 20 minutes. Later, his son, Iqbal Bhai, tied her left leg with a strip of cloth, took out a brand-new Topaz blade, made a cut on her foot, and let the blood rush out. The next morning the son did the same to her left arm. Again she had to first stand in the sun — apparently to make the blood flow more easily. The next day it was the leg’s turn again. Then arm. Leg. Arm. Leg. The cycle continued for a few days each month. Ms Khatoon now claims the pain has disappeared.
Body ache may sound like a rather vague ailment. Mr. Gyas showed The Delhi Walla the testimonial of a woman from Canada who says her blood cancer was cured here. In gratitude, she donated iron benches for his patients.
But how does the hakeem do it? “Impure blood is the root of all ailments. Get rid of it and you are well again,” says Mr. Gyas proffering several diaries filled with similar testimonials by grateful patients from all over (including Egypt, Canada and Japan) who say they were cured of everything from headaches to blood sugar… creaky knees… dicky tickers.
Although he started his professional life as spare car parts salesman Mr. Gyas has been bleeding patients for the past 25 years and says it runs in his, well, you know… He learned the skill from his grandfather. Since he is suffering from Parkinson’s, it is now his son who handles the actual treatment. A strange tradition is being handed over to the new generation.
Where Near Dargah Hare Bhare Shah, Gate No. 2, Jama Masjid Timings 9am-12.30pm Charge Rs 30 per sitting
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