How the dead make the best dentists
PESHAWAR: Any mention of the dentist’s chair is apt to leave people cold. The steely light shone in the face, the hard chair, and the implements of torture and pain usually send patients running in the opposite direction. It is therefore hardly surprising that more and more people are opting for the more soothing and spiritual cures available at shrines like those of saint Amir Ghazi Baba.
Anyone suffering from a toothache need not worry about the dentist drilling into their mouth when they come to the shrine, a graveyard located some 10 kilometres south of Peshawar. The cure at this ‘dentist’ actually involves the patient putting a nail in a plank of wood placed near the wall of the shrine.
“First people usually come and put nails in the door of the shrine for their toothaches,” says Murad Ali, caretaker of the shrine. “But then it became so full of nails with no more space left that we had to remove it and placed wooden planks in its place.”
Mr Ali has spent 50 years of his life in the mazaar and says thousands of people visit it for toothache cures. Abdul Majeed, a visitor to the shrine, says that he had developed a pain in one of his teeth and was told to come to the shrine where he should put a nail in the wood plank. “the shrine is so famous now, that people in the area don’t bother consulting dentists and prefer coming here,” he says. The shrine and its saint however, are shrouded in mystery and even Murad Ali is not sure what its history is. All he knows is that Amir Ghazi Baba, who he claims to have seen in his dreams thrice, is the best dentist in town. —Ghafar Ali