Frog’s tongue dipped in hen’s blood is a surefire remedy for epilepsy. And tuberculosis is not difficult to handle if one consumes monkey meat.
Sounds like a Wilber Smith adventure flick based on the Dark Continent?
Hindustan Times, in the course of tracking hunger, discovered that a large portion of India’s hunger-struck masses in Jharkhand, one of the most impoverished states, still depend on the shamans to ward off evil spirits that cause diseases.
With government neglect stunting development, hunger, illiteracy and superstition still rule the tribal mind. There are 32 tribes in the state, making up around 26 per cent of the states’ population.
“These remedies are attached to age-old beliefs and traditions of the tribal society,” said Dr Prakash Oraon, director of the government-run Tribal Research Institute and director of the Jharkhand Tribal Development Society.
”But I have no reservations in admitting that if healthcare facilities were reached out to them, the weird practices would have disappeared,” he said.
Tomra Birhor (40), resident of Badhua village, around 180 km southeast of state capital Ranchi, belongs to the primitive Birhor tribe, believes monkey meat can cure tuberculosis. He said, “We cannot afford treatment in hospitals.”
“Superstition is rampant especially among Ho, Panchbarganiya, Sabar, Birhor, Oraon and Munda tribes,” said Baiju Murmu, religious head of the Santhal tribe and a littérateur.
He said women were the worst sufferers. For instance, a tradition among Oraon tribesmen forces the mother of a newborn to undergo a three-day-long fast, followed by a weeklong diet of rice and salt.
“It is to ensure a long life to the newborn,” said Etwari Oroan (35), mother of three.
Social worker Kantha Singh, who runs an orphanage and a school in Ghatsila in Jharkhand’s East Singhbhum district, said, “A sustained awareness and literacy campaign, coupled with improved healthcare facilities, is the only remedy to the evils.”