Braid chopping madness

  • Majid Shafi
  • Publish Date: Nov 16 2017 9:05PM
  • |
  • Updated Date: Nov 16 2017 9:05PM
Braid chopping madness

                                                      Illustration by Suhail Naqshbandi/KI

Sorry folks. Get yourself evaluated for clinical paranoia


How many grandfathers are we going to kill before realizing the reality?

How many people with intellectually different needs are we going to maim before we come to our senses?

Are you getting me?


Listen carefully. I am talking about ‘Braid Chopping Epidemic’ and reactive madness of ours.

You may ask, ‘How dare you call us mad?’

My response is, ‘Braid choppers don’t suffer from any kind of madness; neither do the people whose braid is chopped. But we are behaving in a way as if bitten by some rabid species’.

Do I still sound gibberish to you?

Let me be as clear as possible: Braid chopping in Kashmir is simply ‘Mass Dissociation/Conversion with appendages’.

Yes, you heard it exactly right.

Do I sound as government agent to you?

Sorry folks. Get yourself evaluated for clinical paranoia.

Mass Dissociation is called Mass Hysteria in common parlance. However the word hysteria is misogynist and scientifically wrong.

It’s an affliction of race under siege or occupation. Palestine, Afghanistan and Kosovo included.

Taliban were accused of poisoning water supply of girls’ schools in Afghanistan and on investigation it turned out to be a case of mass dissociation. 

Dissociation (Conversion) is ‘converting psychological distress into physical or other form’.

‘Do I mean people with chopped braids suffer from psychiatric illnesses?’

Don’t jump the gun (yet).

All of us (you heard it right!) have tendency to go into dissociative states at different times, in different circumstances.

And, dissociation is not synonymous with mental illness.

Does that mean ‘these people chop their braids deliberately?’

No and it’s a big no.

Dissociative symptoms are not voluntarily like in case of feigning and malingering. A person can do whole range of activities under dissociative spell including self harm of different kinds and he/she may or may not remember doing such acts.

After all dissociation is ‘a vent for distresses of multiple and different kinds’.

Many teachers who are reading this may be familiar with the phenomenon of ‘possession by jinn(s)’ affecting many students in same class or school. That is an example of ‘mass dissociation’ at minor level. Most of these students are free from any kind of mental illness.

You are still not convinced!!!

Stop reading this any further.

I don’t understand what was the logic and wisdom behind ‘Rupees 200 thousand, subsequently increased to 600 thousand award for catching a braid chopper’.

Did it flare up problem of braid chopping?

It did and is doing.


Present scenario:

At present it is still epidemic of mass dissociation with appendages in form of agencies, disgruntled lovers, thieves, gamblers, people with Anti Social Personality disorders, envious neighbors etc.

But remember, main body is dissociation epidemic. Manage body and appendages can’t present any threat in isolation.

What to do now?

Oh my God! You are still reading this.

Stop labeling victims as mentally ill.

Don’t go for victim blaming.

Stop publishing their pictures on Facebook or WhatsApp.

Stop killing grandfathers.

Stop maiming people with special needs.

Honor of our womenfolk is not proportional to length of the braid.

If you catch anyone don’t start thrashing, without giving him/her some minutes to explain the situation.

Poor ‘hair collectors’ are not braid choppers.

Don’t make it more difficult for beggars in season of demonetization and GST.

Don’t thrash journalist involved in reporting about braid chopping.

Learn to ‘entertain a thought without accepting it’

I may not be right all the time and same holds true for you as well.


Footnote: I am indebted to a friend who wishes not to be named.

Sorry for being rhetorical and crass.

Please read about dissociative epidemics in Afghanistan, Palestine and Gaza. Unfortunately you have to do it using word ‘Hysteria’. Google is yet to get gender sensitive.


The writer is a psychiatrist