Mohammed Ashiq has suffered from epilepsy since early childhood and has always been treated by his family doctor, Doctor Shankar and lived a generally normal life. Mohammed lived in Kuddupadav in Kepu village near Vittal, in India. However, when he was 21, his father, Abdul Kunhi, a believer in witchcraft, took him to a practitioner known as Tangal and that witchdoctor gave Abdul some powder, which he was instructed to dilute in water and give it to Mohammed. He also told Abdul to stop the anti-epileptic drugs that were proscribed by Doctor Shankar. Abdul, having faith in this sorcery, immediately stopped his son from taking the proper medication to control his epileptic fits and put him on this powder solution. Mohammed started to deteriorate immediately. Abdul even contacted Tangal about his son’s health problems and was told not to worry and to continue to do what he was told. However, within a few days of this continued witchdoctory, Mohammed’s health had failed to such a degree that they had to rush him to a local hospital in Mangalore. Mohammed never made it to that hospital, he died in transit.
We talk a lot about parents who would rather pray over their sick children than get them credible medical attention in the Western world. In many parts of the world though, it’s not prayer, it’s witchcraft that’s the problem. People who believe that these sorcerers have power will rely on their abilities instead of seeking out actual medical aid, resulting in the death of many innocents, particularly children. The problem is, so many of these people live in remote villages, where real education is rare, I suppose it’s not surprising that so many people will go to folk remedies and magical cures for diseases and conditions they don’t understand. After all, many of these people think that disease is caused by black magic spells to begin with. I think it’s hard for people in the West to truly understand just how primitive these people and their beliefs are, where cultural beliefs have persisted for hundreds of years and there’s a pervasive fear of anything new or different.
The next time someone tells you that religion causes no harm, think of poor Mohammed Ashiq and the magic powder. He was doing great with modern medicine until someone swapped it for superstitious bullshit. Such is the world of Horror Show Sunday.