Folk Healing by Reenactment of a Story

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Pakistani
Age: 73
Occupation: Homemaker
Residence: Bahadur Khan, Attock, Pakistan
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/23/2020
Primary Language: Panjabi
Other Language(s): Urdu

Context: The following is an account from the informant, my grandmother. She told me this over the phone.

Background: She related a story that people believe in and emulate in order to try and heal the sick. For example, when her younger sister had severe asthma, her mother had once emulated the actions related in the story and circled her daughter’s bed while praying for her to be healed, ready to give her own life for her daughter.

Main piece: 

There was once a Mughal king named Babur and his son Humayun. His son was very sick and on his deathbed, despite the attempts of many doctors to cure him. Babur became very desperate to save his son and gathered his advisors for direction. They advised him to give in charity to help remedy the situation. 

One person told him to sacrifice animals and another recommended that he should give away wealth. When Babur was confused as to what course of action to take, one wise man told him to not think too much, and just give away whatever was most dear to him. Hearing this, Babur realized the thing most precious to him was his own life.  

With this in mind, Babur kept circling around the bed of his son while praying for him to be healed. He was ready to sacrifice even his own life so that his son would recover.After a while of doing this, Babur himself developed a fever while his son started getting better. Eventually, Babur collapsed and died, while Humayun made a full recovery. 

Analysis: As a story, there can be many morals derived from this account. This can include the strong relationship and love between son and father as well as the necessity to sacrifice in order to achieve a goal or result. However, this was mentioned as a means of healing that people actually believed in, with the example of my grandmother’s mother re-enacting the story in an attempt to cure her daughter. Although this is the case, it is not clear whether such an event ever did happen in history, with a strong possibility that the story has just inserted real life characters into it, as many stories did.