BHOPAL: Mahadev Toppo from Ranchi (Jharkhand) described how, during the British rule, a medical team was intrigued to find that a tribal belt was left entirely untouched by the plague epidemic that was wreaking havoc across the country.
Toppo stated this on Tuesday, the third day of the six-day virtual seminar on Impact of Epidemics on Folk Culture organised by Madhya Pradesh Adivasi Lok Kala Evam Boli Vikas Akademi, Bhopal.
He said inquiries revealed that the food the tribals ate had immunity-boosting ingredients. More importantly, the outsiders were barred from entering their villages from Hariyali Puja to ekadashi of Bhadon month. “It was a sort of lockdown,” Toppo said.
Hareral Pathak from Tnisukhia (Assam) said that in the olden times, everyone was required to wash their hands and feet with warm water before entering the house. “This acted as a barrier for disease-causing germs,” he said.
Priya Udayan from Kottayam (Kerala) said that during outbreak of epidemics, people used to worship their deities and lit fire. They believed that fire would consume the disease.
Professor Dharmendra Pare conducted the session. Delegates from Jharkhand, Hoshangabad and New Delhi will address the seminar on Wednesday.