In Alirajpur, Bhil tribals pass on the ‘secret art’ of extracting honey without killing bees

  • Shahroz Afridi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Apr 28, 2015 19:41 IST

Many people shudder at the very thought of disturbing a beehive but the Bhil tribals from Alirajpur district in MP have their own ‘secret art’ of extracting honey from the hives without killing the bees.

Their art makes the bees unconscious and harmless for 72 hours when they safely extract the honey.

They also help the people by removing beehives from nearby schools, hospitals and other public places.

And now, they’ve gone a step further by sharing their secret art with beekeeping enthusiasts at their bee-keeping and training center at Kadwal in Katthiwada block.

When the tribals went to Jail Garden in Jhabua on Saturday to remove a beehive from an ancient banyan tree - as a cultural event was scheduled that evening - this correspondent was witness to the whole process of making the bees unconscious and extracting the honey from their hives.

About a dozen hives had to be removed from the tree in Jail Garden, as the organisers of the cultural event didn’t want to take a risk considering an audience of more than 1,500 - including children - was expected to attend the event that evening.

“We could not take chances as our programme had high voltage sound and some light effects could have instigated the bees,” said Bhushan Bhatt, organiser of the programme.

A group of five experts, headed by a tribal Dhan Sigh, reached there and removed the beehives in about half an hour. No one was allowed to witness the process.

Dhan Singh and another tribal Keshav Bhuria said: “We don’t share our secret with anyone. We have inherited it from our ancestors. But of late, we have realised that apart from giving us livelihood, our art can provide relief to many people.”

Bhuria added: “Earlier, we used to teach this only to the members of our community. Now, we provide training to others but only after we get convinced that it would not be misused. We feel good when we remove beehives from around schools and hospitals and save people from them.”

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