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In Pictures: Bloodletting in Delhi
In a city with world-class hospitals, some turn to a 3,000-year-old practice to cure illnesses.
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2013 18:56
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New Delhi, India - Rahat Open Surgery boasts of curing its patients using the 3,000-year-old practice of bloodletting.

A practitioner known as a Hakeem ties the hand or leg with a cloth rope and makes an incision with a razor blade to let the blood rush out from the body, following the ancient medical practice that assumed draining small amounts of blood would prevent illness and cure disease.

"My family has been practicing this for generations and this is a gift of God," says 40-year-old Mohammad Iqbal, who began running the clinic after his 78-year-old father Mohammad Gayas became too old to handle patients.

"No money is charged for this treatment because if we start taking money from people, then the special power to heal will be snatched from us by God," Iqbal says.

The clinic opens at 9am and shuts at noon, treating about 40 patients a day. After the incisions are made with new razor blades, patients stand in the sun so the blood flows out freely. A helper pours water on the incisions. 

"My work is to just take out the bad and impure blood by making these incisions, and the cure is up to God. While some patients get cured in 10 days, there are others who take months. Most of our patients are those who have given up on their doctors and their treatments in hospitals. They come shouting and moaning in pain when they enter the clinic, but go out laughing and smiling," says Iqbal. 

In a city with world-class hospitals and facilities, people still queue at this open-air clinic to be treated for various ailments through the process of bloodletting.

Inderjeet Singh, 19, has been visiting the open-air clinic for more than two weeks now. "I used to walk with the help of a walking stick because of some problem in the left side of my body," he says. "I did not want to undergo a major surgery. Instead I decided to come here and I can now walk easily. Few more days and I will be completely cured."

Iqbal says people from all around the country visit him to cure their ailments, though the number of foreigners visiting has dwindled. 

While no money is charged for bleeding and curing the patients, Iqbal makes his living by running a family shop where he sells clothes and bags.


Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Patients queue at the Rahat open-air clinic at Old Delhi's Dargah Hare Bhare Shah.



/Showkat Shafi

A woman is bounded using strong cotton strips before the treatment in which cutting and bleeding begins.



Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
Mohammad Iqbal begins the procedure by making cuts on the hands of a patient using a blade as other patients wait for their turn. 


Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

According to the practitioners, this ancient practice makes the impure blood flow out from the body and improves the condition of the patient.



Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

A patient's hand is cut using a razor blade at the open-air blood-letting clinic.



Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
Patients allow their hands to bleed with the belief that this will lead to the ailment being cured, as the impure blood will be purged from the body.


Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Water is poured on the hands of the patients after the cutting and bleeding treatment using razor blades.



Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
The healing begins as the impure blood is removed from the body after cuts are made at the Rahat open-air clinic.


Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
Practitioners claim that some patients get cured in a week, while others take a few months. Most of their patients are those who have given up on hospitals and doctors.


Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Inderjeet Singh, 19, says: "I used to walk with the help of a walking stick ... I decided to come here and I can now walk easily."



Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
"I was tired of making rounds to the doctors clinic and trying various hospitals for my terrible back pain," 28-year-old Baby Sharma, a homemaker says. "I have been coming here for three days now and I can feel a difference."


Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
A container with used razor blades, which have been collected since 1980. 



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images:
/mritems/images/2013/7/17/2013717145022381870_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/7/17/2013717145022521478_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/7/17/2013717145022678957_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/7/17/2013717145022818181_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/7/17/2013717145022974498_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/7/17/2013717145023115189_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/7/17/2013717145023287808_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/7/17/2013717145023428447_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/7/17/2013717145023568214_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/7/17/2013717145023725908_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/7/17/2013717145023881440_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/7/17/201371714502421501_8.jpg
captions:

Patients queue at the Rahat open-air clinic at Old Delhi(***)s Dargah Hare Bhare Shah.

;*;

A woman is bounded using strong cotton strips before the treatment in which cutting and bleeding begins.

;*;Mohammad Iqbal begins the procedure by making cuts on the hands of a patient using a blade as other patients wait for their turn. ;*;

According to the practitioners, this ancient practice makes the impure blood flow out from the body and improves the condition of the patient.

;*;

A patient(***)s hand is cut using a razor blade at the open-air blood-letting clinic.

;*;Patients allow their hands to bleed with the belief that this will lead to the ailment being cured, as the impure blood will be purged from the body.;*;

Water is poured on the hands of the patients after the cutting and bleeding treatment using razor blades.

;*;The healing begins as the impure blood is removed from the body after cuts are made at the Rahat open-air clinic.;*;Practitioners claim that some patients get cured in a week, while others take a few months. Most of their patients are those who have given up on hospitals and doctors.;*;

Inderjeet Singh, 19, says: "I used to walk with the help of a walking stick ... I decided to come here and I can now walk easily."

;*;"I was tired of making rounds to the doctors clinic and trying various hospitals for my terrible back pain," 28-year-old Baby Sharma, a homemaker says. "I have been coming here for three days now and I can feel a difference.";*;A container with used razor blades, which have been collected since 1980. Daylife ID:
1374067413284
Photographer:
Showkat Shafi;*;;*;Showkat Shafi;*;Showkat Shafi;*;Showkat Shafi;*;Showkat Shafi;*;Showkat Shafi;*;Showkat Shafi;*;Showkat Shafi;*;Showkat Shafi;*;Showkat Shafi;*;Showkat Shafi
Image Source:
Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Bloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhien-usAl Jazeerafeedback@daylife.com10Wed, 17 Jul 2013 13:23:33 GMTWed, 17 Jul 2013 14:46:03 GMTBloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=00tpcQxgX93Kc

Patients queue at the Rahat open-air clinic at Old Delhi's Dargah Hare Bhare Shah.

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=00tpcQxgX93KcShowkat ShafiAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Patients queue at the Rahat open-air clinic at Old Delhi's Dargah Hare Bhare Shah.

Bloodletting in Delhi
Bloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=057ObkCaxm50I

A woman is bounded using strong cotton strips before the treatment by which cutting and bleeding begins.

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=057ObkCaxm50IShowkat ShafiAl Jazeera Upload Images

A woman is bounded using strong cotton strips before the treatment by which cutting and bleeding begins.

Bloodletting in Delhi
Bloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=0gN0cGI7wNcWW

Mohammad Iqbal begins the procedure by making cuts on the hands of a patient using a blade as other patients wait for their turn. 

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=0gN0cGI7wNcWWShowkat ShafiAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Mohammad Iqbal begins the procedure by making cuts on the hands of a patient using a blade as other patients wait for their turn. 

Bloodletting in Delhi
Bloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=0bwZ4vU2H0fPy

According to the practitioners this ancient practice makes the impure blood flow out from the body and improves the condition of the patient.

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=0bwZ4vU2H0fPyShowkat ShafiAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

According to the practitioners this ancient practice makes the impure blood flow out from the body and improves the condition of the patient.

Bloodletting in Delhi
Bloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=0bpUdCpbJxg4Q

A patient's hand is cut using a razor blade at the open-air blood-letting clinic.

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=0bpUdCpbJxg4QShowkat ShafiAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

A patient's hand is cut using a razor blade at the open-air blood-letting clinic.

Bloodletting in Delhi
Bloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=08DH8sa8be36w

Patients allow their hands to bleed with the belief that this will lead to the ailment being cured, as the impure blood will be purged from the body.

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=08DH8sa8be36wShowkat ShafiAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Patients allow their hands to bleed with the belief that this will lead to the ailment being cured, as the impure blood will be purged from the body.

Bloodletting in Delhi
Bloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=024Ecbk4V78f4

Water is poured on the hands of the patients after they were given the cutting and bleeding treatment using razor blades.

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=024Ecbk4V78f4Showkat ShafiAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Water is poured on the hands of the patients after they were given the cutting and bleeding treatment using razor blades.

Bloodletting in Delhi
Bloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=09da4eX2Ex2Cf

The healing begins as the impure blood is removed from the body after cuts are made at the Rahat open-air clinic.

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=09da4eX2Ex2CfShowkat ShafiAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

The healing begins as the impure blood is removed from the body after cuts are made at the Rahat open-air clinic.

Bloodletting in Delhi
Bloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=00Zt2pqbdueLd

Practitioners claim that some patients get cured in a week, while others take a few months. Most of their patients are those who have given up on hospitals and doctors.

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=00Zt2pqbdueLdShowkat ShafiAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Practitioners claim that some patients get cured in a week, while others take a few months. Most of their patients are those who have given up on hospitals and doctors.

Bloodletting in Delhi
Bloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=03VqbTqcmT5uw

19-year old college student, Inderjeet Singh has been visiting the open-air clinic for more than two weeks now. "I used to walk with the help of a walking stick because of some problem in the left side of my body," he says. "I did not want to undergo a major surgery. Instead I decided to come here and I can now walk easily. Few more days and I will be completely cured."

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=03VqbTqcmT5uwShowkat ShafiAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

19-year old college student, Inderjeet Singh has been visiting the open-air clinic for more than two weeks now. "I used to walk with the help of a walking stick because of some problem in the left side of my body," he says. "I did not want to undergo a major surgery. Instead I decided to come here and I can now walk easily. Few more days and I will be completely cured."

Bloodletting in Delhi
Bloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=0gcu4pz4Ax4zX

"I was tired of making rounds to the doctors clinic and trying various hospitals for my terrible back pain," 28-year-old Baby Sharma, a homemaker says. "I have been coming here for three days now and I can feel a difference."

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=0gcu4pz4Ax4zXShowkat ShafiAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

"I was tired of making rounds to the doctors clinic and trying various hospitals for my terrible back pain," 28-year-old Baby Sharma, a homemaker says. "I have been coming here for three days now and I can feel a difference."

Bloodletting in Delhi
Bloodletting in Delhihttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=0bGK7XccUFb77

A container with used razor blades, which have been collected since 1980. 

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Bloodletting-in-Delhi?image_id=0bGK7XccUFb77Showkat ShafiAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

A container with used razor blades, which have been collected since 1980. 

Bloodletting in Delhi


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