Why Was Padma Shri Awarded To 75-Year-Old Lady Who Lives Anonymously In Forest

There is something special about traditional practices or what is often called in Hindi as 'ghar ke nuskhe'. Our ancestors might not have seen the technological developments that we are witnessing, but their traditional and organic practices are still used by us. 75-year-old Lakshmikutty Amma from Kerala has been awarded the Padma Shri Award for her breakthrough in traditional poison healing practices. It is the fourth highest civilian honour to be awarded in the country. Amma, who belongs to the Kaani tribe in Kollar village has reinstated the respect in traditional and old customs as equally effective and scientific.

"I feel happy that my country accepted me. I haven't felt happier. The District Collector called and informed me that I was selected for Padma Shri. I am in this field for last 50 years and the Kerala government recognized my work and awarded me as well. A few of the people had claimed that I would win the Padma Shri award,” said Amma, in an interview with Deccan Chronicle.

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Amma says that she got the knowledge of these practices from her mother who was a midwife. She can remember more than 500 varieties of medicine. Formally, she attained education only till 3rd standard. She takes interest in writing poems, dramas and teaches in a folklore academy. Life got challenging for Amma when her husband passed away two years ago. Two of her three sons also passed away leaving her alone in the forest.

"My son died due to snake poison, so I gained all the knowledge I could on it. When one is injected with poison it is important to suck it out at the earliest, but with no roads and no hospitals nearby, it is a dangerous issue in the village as we live amidst wild animals,” she said.

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Living in a tribal village, there are many obstacles in Amma’s path. There is no road connectivity to her house and traveling in the forest gets dangerous at times. The road was in fact approved in 1952, but the work never started. The patients often get late in reaching Amma because of the poor infrastructure. She has been pleading to the government to bring some improvements in their lifestyle.

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Amma found solace in nature and started growing medicinal plants around her house. She says that she keenly watches nature and her experience tells her that every remedy can be found in nature itself. It is this belief that has helped spread her good name and gave her one of the biggest honours in the country.

“Even animals and fish have medicinal power,” says Amma.

#Organic 

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