Indigenous knowledge and health care practices among the santal communities: A case study of Mayurbhanj district of Odisha
Dr. Krupasindh Nayak, Debaki Naik
The tribal communities have a vast repository of Indigenous knowledge reflected in their everyday aspects of life and living. Indigenous knowledge has been referred as the unique, traditional, local knowledge existing within and developed around the specific conditions to men and women indigenous to particular geographic area. This knowledge system is transferred across generation through oral traditions, processes and practices. Importance of good health has been well recognized over time. But many times a section of our society suffer from ill health and do not have much access to health facilities in remote areas of our state. Ill health and illiteracy are few root causes of poverty in India and also Odisha where tribal communities and dalit live in sizeable number. Conceptually in common parlance health means absence of morbidity for pathological conditions in body or mind and ability to function as a normal human being. The life and livelihood of tribal people in Odisha is sustainably influenced by the geo-physical structure they live in.This paper outlines an attempt to study indigenous knowledge related to medicinal practices among the Santal community of Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. The paper presents findings from an exploration of different indigenous methods of diagnosis and treatment of diseases, identification of specific plants used in medicine and cure of diseases and to document their perception of illness and disease by probing through their system of disease classification. The study is also intended to assess the general health condition of the Santal tribal in Odisha.