The Folk Beliefs : Magic and Medicine
Many diseases are treated with spells, incantations, conjurations and amulets. In the Punjab, one still comes across Ojhas, Chellas, or Sianas who treat all kinds of illnesses with spells, etc. There are different rites to be gone through for different diseases.
If a person has a crook in the back, he should sit near the threshold of one who was born feet first. That person is to be asked to give a kick to the sufferer. If he agrees to do and actually does what is requested the trouble will go. The person who kicks has to stand at the inner side of the threshold. If there is pain in one side of the head, the patient should look at the rays of the setting sun and rub the affected portion with a few blades of grass, at the same time, muttering some incantation.Repeat it thrice and the pain will go.
A sty or inflammation of the eye is cured if the sufferer knocks at night at a neighbouring house where there are two adults and a child.When someone from inside asks about the caller’s identity, these words have to be uttered in reply
“I am a sty
I come to you, from him I fly”
In the process the sty is transferred from the caller to the person called. The best way to cure a prolonged attack of hiccups is to put some blame on the person concerned, though no indication of the motive behind the false blame may be given out. The psychology behind this belief is that the person’s attention is diverted and because of the shock of the allegation his hiccups suddenly stop.
If anyone suffers from intermittent fever, he should take a thread and go round a peepal tree seven times reciting an incantation. That way the fever will be passed on to the tree. There is another treatment for this fever. The patient is required to hear from the priest of a Gurudwara the story of how Guru Amar Das once entrapped this fever in the form of a child and released it only on the promise that wherever this Sakhi (legend) was told in future, it would run away from there.
For treating piles the patient ties around his toe a thread of five colours, white, red, green, yellow and black, keeps it on for fifteen days so as to open it on a Tuesday, and carries offerings thereafter to the temple of Hanuman. Sometimes a conjured ring is also given to the patient. It is claimed that if the patient wears this ring for a certain period, the malady goes.
A fit of epilepsy can be cured by making the patient smell an old shoe.