Archive for August, 2011

Khudurkuni Osa: The Festival of Spinsters in Orissa

With festivals jostling for space in the calendar over next few months,its celebration time for “Khudurkuni Osa starting from today.The festival is celebrated in the month of Bhadrab (August – September), every Sunday.

Khudurkuni Idols being sold in the streets of Orissa

Khudurkuni Idols being sold in the streets of Orissa

Traditionally, the festival is observed by unmarried girls belonging to business families in Orissa. Khudurkuni is considered as the Godess Managala who is an extension of Goddess Durga . She is propitiated by offering of Khuda Bhaja (Left out particles of rice that are fried), Kantiali Kakudi (Cucumber having little thorns on it), Lia (fried paddy), Ukhuda(fried paddy sweetened by molasses) and coconut. However, the principal food-offering being Khuda which is said to be the favorite of the Goddess, the festival is named as “Khudarankuni” or popularly ‘Khudurkuni’ which means one who is very eager for khuda. Spinsters collect flowers and engage themselves in making garlands and decorating the place of worship since morning on every Sundays of the pious month.

The festival dates back to maritime era .Legend refers to the mystical story of Tapoi who belonged to a seafarer’s family and had seven brothers. While her brothers were out on voyage, she was mistreated by her in-laws and had nothing but khuda to eat. She offered these to the Goddess Mangala and prayed for safe return of her brothers. Her sincere prayers yield result and her brothers return safely to rescue her from her plight.

The festival sets two ideals for girls who observe fast in the month of Bhadrab. One is to be courageous like Durga to fight evil forces and other to be patient like Tapoi and bear sufferings until you come out successful in life.

In villages generally the deity is worshiped in the Dhinkisala or the place where paddy is pounced. This place is plastered neatly with cow-dung and the image of the deity is installed. The floor is painted with floral despins known as Jhoti or Alpana. Garlands are made to hang like arches. The whole day passes with the arrangement and the rituals of worship commence in the evening. After the ritual, are over the girls recite musically the episode of Taapoi which is now available in print. Earlier this was handed down by oral tradition.

Though a traditional festival, Khudurkuni is still celebrated with much gaiety and fanfare not only in villages but Cities. This is one festival which has managed to withstand the ravages of time and is still popularly celebrated in Orissa.

Kalupada: The Center of Orissa’s Indigenous Fracture Treatment

Kalupada Fracture Treatment

Kalupada Fracture Treatment

Kalupada is place in Orissa that draws visitors in multitudes everyday. Just 60 kms from the Orissa’scapital city of Bubnaeswar, Kalupada is connected well by railway and even the government runs a special train to this place. So what’s so special about this place?

Well, Kalupada is a place that is the  last hope of persons who have suffered multiple fractures and have been suggested amputation as the ultimate solution by registered orthopedics. An indigenous form of Ayurvedic treatment known widely in Orissa as Kalupada Seka Chikitsa which uses traditional use of herbs and fomentation to treat fractures, has been carried out here since time immemorial. The mode of treatment is secretive and has been carried on from one generation to the next by way of teaching that is given strictly to the deserving heir of the family.

The healers in the village stay in ashrams and treat anybody who approaches them. Little bamboo sticks, bandages and black herbal liquid solution massage are few things that are used to treat the fractures of patient. The mode of treatment curtail the insertion of steel rod in the bones as it is felt that this method is completely artificial and instead of providing the patient with a solution leaves him disabled throughout the life.

Usually the treatment starts after a diagnosis by the practitioners. The healers depend on their assessment of gentle tactile touch to arrive at a conclusion. The treatment starts after the patient is instructed to pray to God that everything should go well. It is the firm belief  of the practioners that medicines can only cure ailment but prayers change the patient’s fortunes.

Unlike the prevalent practice where the dislocated bones are forced into the right place, Kalupada Seka practitioners do it by gently patting the affected parts. Force is never applied in the process. A black herbal mixture of that is prepared by mixing ten different types of herbs is spread on a bandage which is then wrapped on the broken limb. Though every fourth-day the bandage needs to be changed, it depends on the seriousness of the damage as to how many times that needs to be changed.

In the process of fracture healing, several phases of recovery facilitate the proliferation and protection of the areas surrounding fractures and dislocations. The length of the process depends on the extent of the injury, and usual margins of two to three weeks are given for the reparation of most upper bodily fractures; anywhere above four weeks given for lower bodily injury. The process of the entire regeneration of the bone can depend on the angle of dislocation or fracture. While the bone formation usually spans the entire duration of the healing process, in some instances, bone marrow within the fracture has healed two or fewer weeks before the final remodeling phase.

The process of making the herbal solution is done under strict supervision and is a secret that is known but to a few. The herbs meant for the treatment are collected form the jungle only by trusted men. But even they are not allowed the knowledge of preparing the mixture, as this is considered the key to the cure. Herbal solution while helps in joining the bones, sometimes it weakens them.

For other bone ailments apart from fractures, hot fomentation is applied, which is an extremely specialized method. First of all, affected area of the body is massaged with castor oil. Then a thick oil-soaked cloth is wrapped around, followed by covering it with herbal solution. Then iron rods are heated to the maximum and gently rolled over the oiled-clothes. The exercise goes on for 20-25 minutes. The hot fomentation not only helps in healthier bones, it can cure problems like Spondylitis as well.

In an age of globalization when patents rule the roost in the triflest scientificdiscovery, it is nothing but sort of a miracle that alternative sources of healing like Kalupada Chikitsa still manages to find its footing intact among the people without being manipulated commercially. While the cost of a fracture treatment can be as Rs 500 , the same can cost as high as Rs 5000 for simple fractures in normal treatment. One needs to salute the spirits of the selfless healers who have not only managed to save this ancient form of treatment intact but also have managed to keep it safe from greedand from being exploited for commercial benefits.