Jul 6, 2009
Decades ago, when adequate medical expertise was yet to reach the remote villages of undivided Dakshina Kannada (DK) district, traditional medical practitioner Devaki was looked upon as a saviour by thousands of sick people.
Her knowledge in healing gynaecological disorders, paediatric problems, and expertise in midwifery led many to seek her out in times of need.
Even today, at the ripe old age of ninety-nine, Devaki continues to have a marvellous grasp over her prowess in the medicinal field. She finds medicinal quality in various shrubs and vegetation.
Devaki was born in 1910 to Koragappa and Laxmi Naika, residents of Artikudlu in Nettanige village of Kasargod taluk in Kerala. She married Chaniappa Naika and learnt traditional medicine from her mother-in-law humanity.
In her service as a midwife, she has handled some very complicated childbirth cases despite lacking the assistance of modern medical technology. Devaki has been rendering her service to humanity without expecting any monetary return and with only the welfare of the poor and downtrodden at heart.
Devaki lives in Bettampady here and has three daughters, two sons and fifteen grand children besides thirteen great grand children. She still enjoys a key role in the whole family even now.
Devaki’s eldest son Fakir Naika has already retired from service as a teacher while another son B Aitappa is a national awardee teacher serving at a school in Uppinangady, and with whom she now lives.
Devaki was honoured during the sixth taluk Kannada Sahitya Sammelan held here. Uppinangady Jayceret felicitated Devaki for her humanitarian service and Sanjivini Vedike, Ilantila also awarded her the ‘Sanjivini Award 2009’, recently.
Besides instilling discipline, moral values and trust in God in her children and their progeny, she also donates clothes and food to the poorest of the poor in her locality.
Speaking to Daijiworld, Devaki said, “After learning the traditional medicinal practices I tried my concoctions on myself before administering to the patients. Although my memory is getting weaker and I cannot remember the names of medicinal plants at one time, whenever I come across any plant while walking through the plantations, the particular name comes to mind promptly.”
She added, “I still remember how my medicine healed an ailing child whom doctors had given up on. Medicinal herbs also work wonders in preparing a pregnant woman for natural childbirth and also facilitate smooth and normal delivery.’
On being asked which plants are known for their medicinal qualities, Devaki said, “God has bestowed medicinal qualities on every plant, herb, and vegetation due to which I felt miserable when I had to chop-off branches to be used in the cattle shed during the monsoon season. Every plant is useful to mankind.”
As the interview drew to a close, Devaki attributed her longevity to the wise use of medicinal herbs in her everyday life.