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AfflictionHealth, Disease, Poverty$
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Veena Das

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823261802

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823261802.001.0001

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The Reluctant Healer and the Darkness of Our Times

The Reluctant Healer and the Darkness of Our Times

(p.133) Five The Reluctant Healer and the Darkness of Our Times

Veena Das

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines how illness and misfortune connects humans to other modalities of being by focusing on the case of Hafiz Mian, a well-known amil, a Muslim healer, who practices in one of the low-income neighborhoods in Delhi. Through his life, it shows the burdens that healers bear as they confront everyday forms of suffering, the indecipherability of illness, and the marks of violent histories on their bodies and souls. It demonstrates how fantasy, history, and memory come together in Hafiz Mian's rendering of the dangers he struggles with in his healing as he negotiates the thin line between legitimate knowledge and clandestine knowledge—nuri ilm (the lighted knowledge) and kala ilm (dark knowledge). The ability to heal appears in this narrative as both a blessing and a curse.

Keywords:   illness, misfortune, Hafiz Mian, amil, Muslim healer, dark knowledge, healing, lighted knowledge, nuri ilm, kala ilm

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