The article deals with child branding cases that were researched over a period of two years. Child branding practice is a common occurrence in the rural areas of the Kashmir valley where it is often practiced by faith healers [quacks] having no knowledge of underlying disease processes or the possible differentials of the same; leaving treatment protocols a distant possibility for the same. These illiterate so called healers possibly relieve the initial stigmata of the disease process that is pain by many procedures including burning the affected population with hot coals; embers; and various other pain inducing processes. In this way cutting a painful condition by stimulating another painful condition by possible intervention of body’s “pain gating mechanisms” bring a somewhat temporary relief to the sufferer. This undiagnosed and mistreated underlying disease condition meanwhile continues to linger on with increasing severity often causing morbid relapses and ultimately resulting in a highly mortal course when the patient is actually brought for tertiary hospitalization. The present study aims to establish a pattern between child branding and its medical; social and economic correlations. Among these correlations the study will focus on disease related morbidity and mortality; role of community based faith healers [“quacks”]; poverty and illiteracy. The study will also reveal how bits and pieces of scientific information have been used to misdiagnose and mistreat a significant population belonging to pediatric age group. It will further try to evaluate the role of “pain gating” mechanisms as a means of pain relief and the partial success in motivating a significant population by these healers to be part of such practices. A positive outcome of this study is educating a significant part of affected population to shun such practices and follow proper treatment regimens.
At least somebody is investigating the Kashmiri quackery. In the West we have better PR.