Kathakali Dutta is a second semester student of the Master of Communication and Journalism (Integrated) programme at the School of Mass Communication, KIIT Deemed University, Bhubaneswar.
Even as the number of COVID-19 cases has been rising across the country, a tribal village in the Wayanad district of Kerala remains unhampered by the second wave. They have been completely cut off from the mainstream for decades.
The Cholanayaka tribe, which is a primitive vulnerable tribal group consists of 60 people in their settlement and resides in the Wayanad district under the Moopainad panchayat. Even after two waves of COVID-19, the settlement remains unaffected by the pandemic and has not reported even one positive case ever since. This is when the Wayanad district has reported 4,318 total positive cases during the second wave of the virus, out of which 1,575 remain active cases.
Raghu, a member of the tribal community said that they only take herbal medicine for treatment and do not reach out to hospitals. "We have our own herbal medicine in the forest. Flu is our biggest disease," said he, reported The New Indian Express.
The secretary of the District Legal Services Authority, Rajesh K said that once on his visit to the tribal settlement, he saw red rashes on the forehead of the children. However, on inquiring with the tribal chief about the same, he just smiled and said that they have their own herbal medicine for treating those.
AC Cheriyan, the district officer of Integrated Tribal Development Project, further said that the Cholanayaka tribe does not want to come out of their orthodox ways of life and does not like an intrusion into their lives. Cheriyan added that the people are living a healthy and harmonious life connected with nature. They cultivate their food, eat tubular crops and fish from the Chaliyar river. Every once in a month, they come out of their settlement to sell collected honey and to receive the ration provided by the government.
Besides, there are no reported instances of human-wild conflict or casualty in their settlement.
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