Don’t allow 175-year-old ‘fish medicine’ event: Hyderabad NGO

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Hyderabad, May 5 (IANS) An NGO working for child rights has urged the Telangana government not to allow the annual ‘fish medicine’ event here scheduled next month in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Balala Hakkula Sangham (BHS) said the state government should not facilitate the event usually held in the first week of June to administer the ‘fish medicine’ to people suffering from asthma and other respiratory problems.
Reiterating that the ‘fish medicine’ is unscientific, BHS honorary president Achyuta Rao said the state government should not facilitate Bathini brothers from administering it to thousands of people coming from various states.
“Even if one person in the gathering is Covid-19 positive, the infection will spread to all the people including volunteers. The main sufferers will be children as even the World Health Organization has stated that children and elderly are vulnerable to the virus,” said Rao.
Thousands of asthma patients from various parts of the country gather in Hyderabad to receive the ‘fish prasadam’ (offering), as the medicine began to be called by the Bathini Goud family a decade ago after rationalists challenged its efficacy.
Members of Bathini Goud family administer the ‘wonder drug’ on ‘Mrigasira Karti’, which heralds the onset of monsoon.
Despite the controversies which hit its popularity in recent years, people continue to throng the venue in the hope of finding some relief to their nagging respiratory problems. However, the numbers have dwindled over the years.
The asthmatics gulp down a live ‘murrel’ fish with a yellow herbal paste in its mouth, which is believed to provide the much-needed relief, if taken for three consecutive years. For vegetarians, the family gives the medicine with jaggery.
The Goud family has been distributing the ‘fish medicine’ free of cost for the last 175 years. It claims that the secret formula for the herbal medicine was given to their ancestors in 1845 by a saint after taking an oath from him that it would be administered free of cost.
Every year, various government departments make elaborate arrangements for the annual event held in Exhibition Grounds in the heart of the city.