published on : 3/18/2009 11:32:24 AM
Believe it or not, Dandasi Senapati, a tribal ‘doctor’, as he is widely called, of Sirikana village near the district headquarters town of Rayagada gave a queer definition of medical science by adopting the unique healing method - rice treatment - in the tribal dominated region. Be it superstition or firm faith, Senapati’s rice treatment has many takers in the locality.
Senapati’s healing style is quite funny. Patients are asked to bring a handful of husk-free rice and Rs 20 as doctor’s fee with them. And then Senapati prescribes medicine, mostly medicinal herbs and shrubs for any physical ailment.
What is more interesting is the diagnosis procedure of Senapati. Unlike other doctors, Senapati does not examine the pulse or any other body parts of patients to diagnose the ailment. Nor does he ask the patients about their suffering. Rather, he can scan a patient thoroughly by examining the rice they brought while meeting the tribal ‘doctor’.
“I put the rice brought by the patient on the ground and give a close look at it. Then I can detect the disease,” Senapati quipped. Senapati denied of practicing witchcraft or black magic to cure diseases. “I also do not offer prayer to any deity nor perform puja,” Senapati said. “Patients have firm faith in my healing method. People from far off places come here to avail my therapy,” he added.
Chiranjibi Rao, a relative of a patient claimed to have come all the way from Parbatipuram in Andhra Pradesh to meet Senapati. “My son was suffering from bad cold and cough. I had heard of Senapati’s miraculous therapy. So I came here with my son,” Rao maintained. Some other patients also corroborated what Rao said. According to villagers, patients often wait in queue to get the appointment of Senapati.
The patients, who have an unflinching faith on Senapati, ruled it out as superstition. But the professional doctors describe Senapati’s practice as nothing but sheer superstition. “This is clearly a superstition. The practice may put the lives of patients in danger,” doctor VN Prusty of Rayagada district headquarters hospital said.
Interestingly, like Senapati, the Sirikana village is also home to another god woman, Gurumai. Gurumai, a woman priest of the village, is the harbinger of truth and prosperity for the locals in the vicinity. She has been frequented by people, including patients, everyday with problems, be it personal or social. She resolves their plight by worshipping the village deity.