By DN Singh
That’s the blessing of nature we can suppose. And the boon humanity can garner being friendly with mother nature. Not a single Covid positive case in 34 Bonda tribe hamlets dotting the majestic hills of Malkangiri in Odisha.
When the deadly Coronavirus has clung to the entire world like an albatross, here is a place in Malkangiri district of Odisha where, a primitive community located 3000 ft above the sea level, the Bondas, has not allowed the virus to find its way into their domains.
It’s not their literacy or any tryst with modern day health support, nor any gears as shields against the pandemic, but a kind of surprise, presumably because of their lifestyles so intricately gelled with the nature.
Malkangiri’s Bondas are known world over for their homogeneous quality and more so, for their aversion for outsiders. The instincts they nurture are unique in many ways.
Spread over about 34 clusters of hamlets, there are about eight thousand of them scattered over the hills ,virtually inaccessible ordinarily by outsiders. Considered to be the 2nd most primitive tribe in India , the semi-clad Bondas have perhaps shown their xenophobic instincts against the virus as well, which has rattled rest of the world pathetically.
“It is indeed an encouraging thing that none of the Bondas have been infected by the virus ” said Debendra Mahari who heads the Bonda Development Agency(BDA) at Mudulipada. ” We can say that, their intimate association with the nature remains the major reason to boost their immunity system by which they could keep the pandemic at bay” adds Mahari.
Traced back roughly to the Astro -Asiatic era, Bondas do live their lives deriving all that they need from nature almost and, which includes, their needs for medicines from the herbal repertoire they live in.
Right from minor ailments to any crippling health disorder, from the herbs, roots and leaves, they extract the medicinal ingredients to fight the diseases. Before their initiation to the world outside by the BDA, the robustness they gained from nature had been protecting them as an invisible gear for long. And it still does.
It was known from interaction with some of them that, they don’t even use oil in cooking foods like curry and Dal etc. Yes, an abandon intake of antioxidants like Papeya, Jack fruit and another wild yet edible fruits always remain a staple recipe besides getting revenue by selling them in local weekly markets downhill.
Even the liquors they consume day long, are brewed from the above fruits only .
It’s a lesson that almost resonates loud into the drawing rooms and offices of the high-end society that, a further departure from nature will be at the peril of humanity only.
About the Author:
DN Singh has a long stint of over 38 years of journalistic career. He had headed Zee News Odisha Bureau for 19 years before he became Editor-in-Chief of Focus Odisha news channel. After leaving Focus Odisha, he is a freelancer now writing in a few Delhi-based news portals.