Men for centuries had practiced religious and cultural fanaticism and casteism, racism, etc. In this modern world, they raise their ugly head then and there across the globe, resulting in mayhem, injuries and death. As for the societies, world over there exist innumerable social evils that are based on superstition, one being human branding among many hill tribes of India. In the past, human branding was used on a large scale by the Western slave owners and others.
It is thought to be centuries old, and has attained a sort of religious sanctity and began to be associated with local deities.
This practice is still very much prevalent in villages in India.
Various body parts are branded for different diseases: the abdomen for malaria and jaundice, the neck or the forehead for meningitis and the wrist for convulsions.
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Acute infection, transmission of blood-borne pathogens, allergic reactions, and complications which arise from third-degree burns are caused after branding.
As if these were not enough, the nasty practice of putting saliva, ash or untested herbal paste on the burn wounds make matters worse.
Source: Journal of Tropical Gastroentrology
01. American, European and other colonial slave owners branded millions of slaves brought from Africa and other countries. There were several brandings, e.g. for the Portuguese crown and the (consecutive) private owner (s), an extra cross after baptism as well as by African slave catchers.
02. Branding a slave, in those olden days, was something like marking properties like cattle. For the slave owners, it was to prevent escape and establish ownership.
04. As for a loop in slavery and criminal law, a convict is branded and legally reduced, with or without time limit, to a slave-like status, such as on the galleys (in France branded GAL or TF travaux forcés 'forced labour' until 1832), in a penal colony, or auctioned to a private owner.
05. In criminal law, branding with a hot iron was a way of punishment consisting of marking the subjects as if they were goods or animals, in conjunction with heir reduction of status in life.
06. Convicted criminals were punished by branding mark, as besides enduring painful burns on a normally visible part of the body. Some convicts would carry visible imposition of an indelible criminal record on the body that would cause public humiliation.
07. Letter F (Fur) was marked on robbers, like runaway slaves, by the Romans ; the miners, and convicts were branded on the forehead for identification. During the time of Constantine I the the branding was done on the hand, arm or calf and not on the face.
08. At the time of the Roman Emperor Trajan, Christians experienced painful punishment on their face on a judge's order for refusal to sacrifice.
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In the 17th century North America, married couples, found convicted for adultery were branded with an "A" letter on their chest, and for other crimes, such as "D" for drunkenness and "B" for blasphemy.
Branding the mark as a code for the crime was prevalent in Canadian military prisons D for Desertion, BC for Bad Character; most branded men were, it is believed, shipped off to a penal colony
During the American civil war, branding was used for a time by the Union Army.
To stop flight, or escape from torture in Louisiana, Slave owners used severe punishments . They would often brand the slaves' palms, shoulders, buttocks, or cheeks with a branding iron.
To recapture escaped runaway slaves, branding was sometimes used to help the locals easily identify the runaway.
To to punish their slaves whipping and branding were used by the slave owners. Initially they would prefer whipping to branding. They were allowed by the laws in the USA and in S. Carolina, when a slave ran away, if it was his first offense, he would receive no more than forty lashes. Then the second offense would be branding. Branded letter R on their forehead would signify that they were a criminal, and a runaway.
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