rajan.zaveri Rajan Zaveri

Rajan is an Australian/British freelance photojournalist and founder of Firefly Multimedia. He uses reportage in mixture of media to focus on the social and cultural interests of a community and has covered issues internationally with projects in the UK, Croatia, Bosnia Egypt and India. Rajan’s work has featured with various publications and organisations such as Al Jazeera, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Telegraph, BBC, Storyhunter, Vocativ and Vice Magazine. Rajan has won Guardian Student Photographer of the Year and was shortlisted him for Magnum’s Ideas Tap Photography Competition and the Royal Photographic Society Joan Wakelin Bursary. He has been exhibited in Foto8 and Candid Arts in London and a collective exhibition in Third Floor Gallery and Jacobs Market in Cardiff. Rajan is the Founder of Firefly Multimedia, a company specialising in digital storytelling through a variety of mediums for charities and NGO's. A graduate from Newport University in 2010 with a BA in Documentary Photography. He has also undergone training for Video, Sound and Journalism at the SAE Institute in London. Rajan is currently working on interactive documentaries as well photographic and video assignments in India. Contact on [email protected] India Blog: www.fireflyindia.tumblr.com Website: www.rajanzaveri.com www.fireflymultimedia.com

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Bloodletting Treatment in Delhi
New Delhi
By Rajan Zaveri
26 May 2014

Bloodletting practitioner Mohammad Gyas watched as his son sliced open the tourniquet-bound hands and feet of the sick with single-use razor blades in the garden of Old Delhi's Jama Masjid.

The ‘bad blood’ spilled into gutters that ran along the side of the platform, washed from the patient’s limbs with jugs of water. This ancient medical practice is said to cure everything from heart pain and arthritis, to cancer and diabetes.

"The darker the blood, the longer you have to bleed," Gyas said. A typical treatment regime runs for six weeks.

Gyas’ son was working with half a dozen assistants. They wrapped the tourniquets and washed water over the blade wounds to flush out blood. They then treated the cuts with a mixture of spices and doctor was on hand to give tetanus injections.

Gyas learned the trade from his grandfather and passed on his skills to his son. He has been practicing and overseeing treatments at the same place every day since 1980. During that time he has saved every single razor blade he used, which he proudly displays in 20 plastic drums.

“This many years, this many people, this many blades,” he said, pointing proudly to the plastic drums. “How could you doubt my treatment working?”

Gyas suffers from Parkinson’s disease, which has prevented him from doing any of the work himself since 2008. Interestingly, neither he nor his son sported any nicks or cuts on their own limbs. However, that does not deter the duo's patients who travel from far-flung parts of India and even other countries, including Japan and the United States. Many of them swear by the treatment, which includes following a strict no-booze, no-smoking, legume-rich diet.

One of Gyas' longtime arthritis patients demonstrated his belief in the treatment by leaping spiritedly on and off a brick platform in the garden.

“Look at me now!” he exclaimed in broken English, grinning and bouncing gratefully. “I can move everything, there’s no pain.”

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Tending the Funeral Pyres of Nepal
Kathmandu
By Rajan Zaveri
09 May 2015

Gyan Prasad Acharya has tended funeral pyres at Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu for 30 years. Since a massive earthquake devastated Nepal, the Ghats, traditional spaces reserved for cremating the dead, at Pashupatinath Temple have been overwhelmed. The Ghats have gone from seeing 30 bodies cremated a day to hundreds. Every open space along the river has been taken up by survivors trying to bid their loved ones a final farewell.

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Bloodletting in India (Video)
New Delhi
By Rajan Zaveri
01 Mar 2013

A middle-aged arthritis sufferer leaps spritely onto a brick platform in the gardens of Jama Masjid, a mosque in Old Delhi. He springs back down again, grinning. He was showing off what he said were the results of a traditional cure for which he had patiently waited in line. Venesectionist Mohammad Gyas watches as the son he trained slices open the tourniquet-bound hands and feet of an afflicted person with single-use razor blades. The ‘bad blood’ spills into gutters that run alongside the platform and is washed from the patient’s limbs with jugs of water.

The ancient bloodletting practice, combined with strict dietary regimes, is said to cure everything from heart pain and arthritis to cancer and diabetes. The darker the blood, the longer you have to bleed, Gyas said. A typical treatment regime runs for six weeks. Gyas’s son works with half a dozen assistants who wrap the tourniquets, pour water over the blade wounds to flush out blood and treat the cuts with a mixture of spices. A doctor was also on hand, giving tetanus injections. The venesectionist learned the trade from his grandfather and passed on his skills to his son. He has been practicing or overseeing treatments at the same place every day, even the day that one of his other sons wed, since 1980. During that time he has saved every single razor blade, which he proudly displays in 20 plastic drums. “This many years, this many people, this many blades,” he said, pointing proudly to his hoard of blades. “How could you doubt my treatment working?”

Gyas suffers from Parkinon’s disease, which has prevented him from doing any of the work himself since 2008. Neither he nor his son sported any nicks or cuts on their own limbs. That doesn’t matter to the duo’s patients, who travel from far-flung parts of India, even voyaging from other countries, including Japan and the United States, to be cured. Many of them swear by the treatments, possibly aided by the bloodletting, or maybe by following the no-booze, no-smoking, legume-rich diet, or perhaps by a combination of the two. “Look at me now,” Gyas’s longtime arthritis patient exclaimed in broken English, bouncing gratefully like a graceless ballerina. “I can move everything. There’s no pain.”

Shotlist:

001
Carpet being laid out

002
blades being emptied onto the carpet

003
General india confusion as interview of main character, Mohummod Gyas is trying to take place

004
Mohammad Gyas Interview shot

005
Water being pored onto bleeding hand

006
Blood and water flowing into gutter

007
Title Screen

008
Cut feet being washed by water

009
slider shot of strapped feet being pumped to encourage blood flow

010
slider shot of disfigured foot bleeding

011
Mohammad Gyas Interview shot

012
pan shot of whole location - people lining up to be bled and people pumping their blood

013
close up of foot being cut

014
Mohammad Gyas Interview shot

015
Slider shot from cut to pumping blood

016
Kumle Chandra Interview shot

017
wide of Kumle Chandra and others pumping their blood

018
Kumle Chandra Interview shot

019
slider shot of water being poured on bleeding foot

020
foot being positioned before being cut

021
Said Dama Interview shot

022
Mid shot of hand pumping blood and puring water

023
Mohammad Gyas Interview shot

024
Kumle Chandra Interview shot

025
slider shot of spices being applied to cuts after bleeding

026
slider shot of bleeding foot being cut and water being splashed

027
Kumle Chandra Interview shot

028
midshot of hand being cut by razor

029
Said Dama Interview shot

030
pan shot of leg ties being applied before bleeding

031
wide shot of location, next to Jama Masjid in Delhi

032
Said Dama Interview shot

033
unnamed couple interview shot

034
wide shot of unnamed couple bleeding and cuts being washed

035
unnamed couple interview shot

036
Mohammad Gyas Interview shot

037
Kumle Chandra Interview shot

038
Said Dama Interview shot

039
Birds fly from Jama Masjid over location, fade to black

Soundbites:

Mohammad Gyas - Retired Venesectionist: Get a carpet and spread it. It is not a question of rust! Are you mad? This is our stock, to show people like you that we have cured a record number of patients in the world. No.. No… you can tell what you want! Now they are interviewing me!

Rajan Zaveri - Camera Man: Take one

Mohammad Gyas - Retired Venesectionist: My name is Muhammad Gayas, I live in Daryaganj, New Delhi. My practice is ancestral. It was started by my grandfather. My name is Muhammad Gayas, I live in Daryaganj, New Delhi. My practice is ancestral. It was started by my grandfather.

Title: RAHAT BLOODLETTING

Mohammad Gyas - Retired Venesectionist: Just like in the whole world there is a repair centre for cars... ...this is a body repair centre. We take out blood from the veins. God has given us this body wired with veins just like electricity is wired. With the brain as a transformer. Got it?

Iqabol Gyas - Venesectionist: Lets go.

Kumle Chandra - Patient: My name is Kumle Chandra, I'm from Uttranchal. My native place was Ganchan I've been suffering for 3-5 years, because of joint pain provoked by arthritis. I want to give this information to all the people suffering from arthritis, sciatica, spondylitis and back pain and also migraine. They should come here for this treatment.

Said Dama - Patient: I'm Said Dama. I've come from the city of Kolkata, earlier known as Calcutta. I've been suffering for the last three years of spondylitis, severe back pain...

Mohammad Gyas - Retired Venesectionist: There is no treatment for this in the world. It happens when the blood goes bad. Body pain happens when the blood goes bad.

Kumle Chandra - Patient: Methodex, folic acids, Ceso 500, Calpol 500, Ektobex 910b. I have taken allopathic treatment, homeopathic treatment and ayurvedic treatment... That time I came here, and after 50 days I feel... ..now I can walk, I can run. [The] allopathic doctor cannot believe it.

Said Dama - Patient: So last summer I came here and I did get a lot of relief, but you have to go through a lot of restrictions in diet. After I've gone back I've relieved from the pain for at least three months. Then again, you know… our delicacies … ...when they make biriani and other good food. I started eating them, and again, slowly pain started troubling me. I'm still in the process of treatment, lets see... I will come back again. They take only 40 INR a day ($0.7 USD). That's nothing, basically. While coming here, I've become friend with a lot of people, and they’ve given me feedback

Unnamed Couple - Patients: We all stay here like brothers and sisters. With a lot of love and camaraderie. We like it here. It is a nice atmosphere. We stay here for 10, 12 or 15 days together The treatment is going well. The people here look after us with a lot of love and care.

Mohammad Gyas - Retired Venesectionist: Allopathic, Homeopathic... ...after searching the world for these treatments, people come to us.

Kumle Chandra - Patient: 90% I'm now OK. Nobody can tell me that I'm suffering [from] arthritis!

Said Dama - Patient: So many people have come here. Of course doctors told they cannot cure me. No chance of curing spondylitis. I've come here, lets hope for the best. Inshallah everything will be fine. Thank you so much.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
20 Oct 2013

New Delhi: India
The darker the blood the longer the bleed. Water is poured over the cuts to keep the blood flowing.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
06 Nov 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 Mohammad Gyas has kept every single blade used on a patient since 1980. He says it proves just how many people are affected by his therapies. "This many years, this many people, this many blades. How could you doubt my treatment working?"

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
15 Nov 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 A dressing of mixed spices is applied to the cuts after each treatment. It is used to help clean and seal the wound.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
23 Oct 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 Mohammad Gyas has had patients from as far as the US and Japan. He collects and decorates his office with pictures, business cards and newspaper clippings of all those who have visited.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
01 Nov 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 The legs and arms are bound tight above the areas to be cut. Razeen, 28, helps to treat at least 30 patients a day.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
15 Nov 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 Laksha, 42, is a first time patient to Rahat Open surgury. She decided to undergo treatment for her atheritus and joint pain after a friend claimed to be completely cured using the bleeding method.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
24 Oct 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 Anywhere between 5 to 10 cuts are made on each foot to allow enough bleeding.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
15 Nov 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 The Open Surgury also sells a varity of homopathic medicines that help with problems such as tooth rot.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
15 Nov 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 Abdul-Ghani has almost completed 6 weeks of treaments for pains in lower back and legs. " I have never felt as healthy and strong as I do now and my pains have almost dissappeared'.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
15 Nov 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 To keep the blood flowing, patients bend the knee of the leg that is bound at a constant rate. There is no age limit to the treatment with children as young as 7 particpating in treatment.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
01 Nov 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 Over the Last 10 years Ibn Umar has been treated at Rahat for various problems including diabities. "The treatments and recommended diet have helped me to live a longer and healthier life'.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
15 Nov 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 A strict diet is enforced in combination with the bleeding treatment. According to Mohammad Gyas, both must be followed to be healed of ailments.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
20 Oct 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 Mohammad Iqbal has taken over from his father and now treats a constant stream of patients who come from all over India.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
20 Oct 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 Each customer is given a timetable book to keep track of his or her visitations. Treatments cost between 50 to 200 rupees depending on the ailment and amount of sessions needed.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
01 Nov 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 Single blades are used for the treatment. Each blade is only used once and each new patient is given a tetanus shot as a precaution.

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Blood Letting
By Rajan Zaveri
01 Nov 2012

New Delhi: India: 2013 Mohammad Iqbal is well practiced at his craft. He moves quickly over each patients hands and feet and in just a few seconds makes the cuts needed for the treatment.