Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Inside the curious world of Delhi’s bone-setter Pahalwans


Inside the curious world of Delhi’s bone-setter Pahalwans

They call themselves Pahalwans but they are bone-setters who run ‘orthopedic clinics’ where they offer traditional treatment for problems from fractures to muscle spasm to stiff shoulder.

Updated: Nov 13, 2017, HT

Satish Kumar Midda, better known as Hari Pahalwan, at his clinic in Old Delhi. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)       

No X-ray machines, no casts, no forceps. Most work with bare hands with a pair of scissors being the only the equipment. Curiously, their clinics – there are many of them in places such as Mahipalpur near the airport, Shahdara in east Delhi, Uttam Nagar in west Delhi – flaunt large flex signboards with photographs of WWF wrestlers with bandaged hands and legs. Many feel these Pahalwans are quacks but there are others who swear by their ‘expertise’. In fact, at some clinics, such as Ghuggi Pahalwan’s in Shahadra, the waiting time can be up to four hours.
Almost all of them have had no formal training and claim to rely on ‘wisdom and experience’ received from their forefathers. And they all call themselves Pahalwans – though most have never been a wrestler.

But orthopedicians are not quite amused. Mention ‘Pahalwan’ and Dr Atul Vaish, vice-president, Delhi Orthopedic Association, says. “They are just quacks and do more harm than good. There are no ifs and buts about it. For them every bone-related problem is a case of dislocation. Their methods are unscientific and highly questionable,” he says. “You need to understand the anatomy of a person to carry out any manipulation. And for that you need formal training.”


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