Tragic 'Daagana' Tradition Claims Infant's Life in Madhya Pradesh

Three-Months-Old Child's Tragic End Highlights Perilous Tribal Practice of Branding
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Representational ImageCourtesy-Pvproductions/Freepik

Bhopal: A tragic incident unfolded in the Shahdol division of Madhya Pradesh, where a three-month-old girl fell victim to the perilous 'Dagana' tradition—a practice that involves branding newborns to treat pneumonia in tribal families. Despite sustained awareness campaigns led by the Health Department, District Administration, and Women and Child Development Department, the ruthless practice persists, casting a shadow over the effectiveness of these initiatives.

The unfortunate case involved an infant from Patasi village in Shahdol district who, after battling pneumonia, passed away during treatment at the district hospital. Disturbingly, the child exhibited multiple marks on her stomach, indicative of branding. The marks, resulting from the use of hot objects, depicts the severity of the traditional yet harmful practice.

The child exhibited multiple marks on her stomach, indicative of branding.
The child exhibited multiple marks on her stomach, indicative of branding.

In a separate distressing incident within Shahdol, a midwife reportedly branded a 1.5-month-old baby, raising further alarm about the persistence of such dangerous customs. The infant, admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) of the district hospital, suffered injuries, including multiple stab wounds. The incident unfolded when the child's health deteriorated while at the maternal home, prompting the family to seek the midwife's assistance instead of medical intervention.

As per a report in Indian Express, in a survey carried out by the field staff of Women and Child Development Department as many as 672 children that were registered with 763 anganwadis in Umaria, Manpur and Pali blocks of Umaria district in Madhya Pradesh have been found to have been victims of “daagna” or branding.

Shubham Singh Baghel, a local journalist dedicated to shedding light on the 'Dagana' practice, expressed concerns about the limitations faced by the district administration and health department in reaching remote areas. While acknowledging continuous efforts to raise awareness, there remains a pressing need to address the gaps preventing outreach to vulnerable communities.

The 'Dagana' practice, deeply rooted in tribal communities, involves branding newborns with heated objects such as iron nails, black bangles, neem, or bamboo stalks. This harmful tradition stems from the misguided belief that branding can cure pneumonia, stomach ailments, and diarrhea in infants. Despite ongoing efforts to dispel these misconceptions, the persistence of this age-old tradition continues to exact a devastating toll on the health and lives of infants in tribal communities.

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