By Raees –ul-Hamid Paul
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.”, Einstein has said. Curious minds are awe-struck about the phenomenon of braid chopping and waiting for somebody to quell their curiosity. The greatest agony for these minds will be if this phenomenon which is so much shrouded by murkiness comes to halt of its own without the truth about its etiology coming to the surface.
For a moment, if we believe this mass hysteria theory , a pertinent question for the psychiatrists, that strikes my mind is: can a mass hysteria lead to such an extent of somatization of the symptoms that a woman in the state of altered sensorium will chop her own dearest braid which she has nurtured all her life? Is this hysteria so much potent that it will drive a woman to such extreme madness that she will scissor her own symbol of adornment and womanhood? Psychiatrists of the valley have largely turned mute spectators to this phenomenon, fearing this could land them in trouble.
If few people have chosen to utter something, they are equally caught in the ambiguity like a common man. Reportedly they seem reluctant to either yea or nay saying while as few are skeptical about the theory of mass hysteria. Does the fear of being reprimanded absolve the psychiatrists of the valley of their duty to serve their people at this crucial juncture, which could serve a best moment for them to fulfill the covenant of Hippocratic Oath? Why can’t they come up with facts on their part?
As a people, one responsibility lies on us too in this hour of distress and uncertainty. We need to stop behaving as emotional morons and not to pounce upon every damn stranger as a potential braid chopper. This hyper-reactionary approach will ferment further chaos and commotion. How many people caught after the incident turned out to be “genuine” braid choppers? Our magnificent culture, reverence for human values and ethos doesn’t let us ill behoove and become another land of vigilantism.
The buck finally passes to the administration. The authorities ought to put the lid on this phenomenon lest this phenomenon degenerates into kind of havoc. They must solve this mystery else they will be considered an accomplice and collaborator in this “sinister design of New Delhi”, the popular narrative which has already got floated and firmly gained ground in the valley. If nobody is able to put out our women-folk of this misery, lets then pin our hopes on Allah SWT and kneel down in front Him: O Allah! Show us the reality of things as they really are.
The author is a doctoral student at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI), Chandigarh. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com