A practice that cures but leaves a scar

Mysuru: Here is a case that sounds as if it has come straight from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not TV show. A root from jungle is heated and tied to the arms of children suffering from jaundice, severe stomach ache and other ailments in the belief that Goddess Yellamma cures the pain and trauma. And believe it or not, according to patients who have undergone this painful practice, it actually cures!

This practice came to light when volunteers from Rural Literacy and Health Programme (RLHP) were conducting physical examination as part of ‘Anti Child Labour Day’ event organised by RLHP at Bal Bhavan at Bannimantap this morning.

The volunteers came across at least eight to nine children who bore a deep round scar on their arms. So deep was the scar that the RLHP authorities were shocked to see the wound and they applied medicines after cleaning them.

When the volunteers questioned the children about the scars, they told them the scars were caused after a treatment for jaundice. Later, it was discovered that a certain community that resides behind Srinivasa Talkies at Bannimantap have been practicing astrology, collecting hairs to sell as wigs and curing ailments using roots since 20 years.

One of the community members, speaking to SOM said, “Hundreds of parents come to us with their suffering children. We then assess the ailment and get a special root from the forest, heat the root and tie it tightly around the arms of the children who are sick. Later, we wrap the root with a cloth and sprinkle water.”

“The root is tied for 24 hours and after that the ailment is cured. By the grace of Goddess Yellamma, so far our treatment has not failed and parents are happy that their children are cured,” he said. Many adults in that area were seen with these scars as they had undergone this treatment when they were children.

Dr. Christida Pais of RLHP who noticed this at the Bal Bhavan event expressed shock that even in these modern times, certain beliefs are being followed even by educated class. “These scars are permanent and there is no way to remove them except surgery. We will visit this particular area and educate the people about modern medical system,” she said.

Women and Child Welfare Department Deputy Director K. Radha who was informed about this practice by volunteers said, “I will visit these practitioners and conduct awareness programmes within a week.”