MYSURU: The whole world may be battling the Covid-19 pandemic, but the deadly virus seems to have no impact on the tribals living in and around the forests. No case has been reported in Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, and parts of Kodagu. This could be due to the high immunity levels of the tribals who depend on nature for medicinal remedies.
The tribal population spread in more than 300 Hadis of Eastern and the Western Ghats have set an example to others to fight the virus with traditional foods. Also self-imposed lockdown, home quarantine, precautionary measures like maintaining social distance, ban on entry of outsiders, curbs on migration and discipline have made them remain safe in their hamlets.
Although many youths have returned from Bengaluru, Mangaluru and other cities and have undergone Covid-19 tests, there is not a single case. The tribals depend on roots and tubers and greens. They consume natural fruits like wood apple and nerale (jamun). Shirasagar, a writer who worked on the food habits of the tribal population, said that they consume 80 varieties of greens that have medicinal values and also help boost immunity.
P K Ramu, a tribal from Hosahalli Hadi, said that there has been no Covid-19 case in 38 Hadis in Hunsur taluk as many have fenced their areas. He said that the naturally available bamboo shoots, fish and crabs have helped them keep themselves warm that will also boost immunity.
Bommaiah of BR Hills said that they consume pure honey, which has great medicinal properties. He said cell phones have enhanced their awareness of the virus. Many of them have decided not to migrate to estates in neighbouring districts and states as they want to keep themselves safe. “We are happy that many including women and children have made it a point to wear a mask or even cover their face with a piece of cloth,” he added.
A few organisations working for the empowerment of the tribals have formed teams to visit the Hadis, gather information and educate them on Covid-19 norms. “The tribal love to live a full life and the determination to overcome the pandemic has seen that they and their children don’t step out of their villages,” said Sreekanth of DEED, an NGO. District Health Officer Venkatesh said that there are zero cases in the tribal hamlets . He said they have roped in taluk health officers and health workers to create awareness. “We have decided to conduct Rapid Antigen Test randomly from next week,” he added.