Puttur: Age no Barrier to Devaki’s Healing Touch

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.

By Arun Uppinangady
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Comment on this article

  • Flora, Kalmady - Jerimeri(Mumbai)

    Wed, Jul 08 2009

    Herbal Ajji, you are really Great!! You look so beautiful till now!!! Wish you Good Health today and everyday.

  • Antony Pereira, Bejai, Mangalore

    Tue, Jul 07 2009

    Devaki grandma, I salute you and appreciate the good work you have done & rendered to the needy people. May God bless you & grant u good health & reward you for ur good work you have done in ur life.

  • nelson, valencia/kuwait

    Tue, Jul 07 2009

    Practicing medicine even at this age ... Incredible grandma.

  • Shareef Moideen, Mangalore/Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

    Tue, Jul 07 2009

    Devaki Amma, you are my grand mother in humanity.

  • Upendra Kundove, Puttur / Sharjah

    Tue, Jul 07 2009

    It is great to know about Ayurveda Rathna Mrs Devakiji. Ayurveda is our ancient medicinal and healing therapy, which has wonders and miracles. There are many such Ayurveda experts who served and still serve our society on humanity basis those legends should be identified and introduced to our younger generation- that is the real honour and respect to such living icons.

    It would be a great job if her expertises and experinces in the field are documented for our future generation. Heartful wishes to Mrs Devakiji and her family with respect. Sincere thanks to Daiji world to bring such great article as a part of social responsibility.

  • S.Dhooma, Mulki

    Tue, Jul 07 2009

    How beautiful ''dodamma'' looks at this age..touchwood..with sharp features..one in thousand.. afterall health is wealth..God bless her..pray to god let her enter beyond century...

  • Laila Pinto, Mangalore/KSA

    Mon, Jul 06 2009

    Thank You Daijiworld, for letting us, readers know about this wonderful Devaki. Hope her children and grandchildren have noted down her invaluable knowledge and come out with a book so as to spread her knowledge far and wide. Majority of us lack the knowledge of the unique healing powers of various herbs, plants, etc, for various ailments.

  • w.e.pinto, mangalore/s.america

    Mon, Jul 06 2009

    ngratulations Madam Devaki Naika.may God give you total good health till death.All the best in ur remained life.

  • nelson , valencia/kuwait

    Mon, Jul 06 2009

    Keep it up lady ... You are one in a million.

  • Lawrence D''souza, Kalmady/Dubai

    Mon, Jul 06 2009

    Devaki must have saved many life in her dedicated service to the mankind.I rate her as one of the good physician.Keep it up Devake,long live and God Bless you

  • Bulsam, Mangalore

    Mon, Jul 06 2009

    Our generation doesn’t know how the people lived in rural India before 1960’s. There were no health centres or doctors within 10 to 50 kms & worst there were no proper roads or bullock-carts. The Compounders & Mid-wives were the great medical practitioners during those days within 5 to 10 kms vicinity & they were highly respected. This great Madam Devaki is one among them who valued herbs & shrubs for day to day life. They are more of social worker than a Medical Attainder who go walking for kilometers to service the ignorant rural folks by expecting nothing in return except to save the mother & the new born by what ever means available around them. Ma’am I am very delighted to see your wrinkled but beautiful human face which is badly missing in today’s world. I wish the Govt. of Karnataka recognise the service she had rendered which is priceless. Ma’am, may God give you long life and good health. God Bless!!

  • Jawar D''Souza, M''Lore/Doha

    Mon, Jul 06 2009

    Very good service by the lady some people should learn from her about the herbal medicines so that it will not die away.At least her family member''s.

  • Anil Pinto, Bannur,Puttur/Sharjah

    Mon, Jul 06 2009

    devaru nimage innu nooru varusha aayushya,sukha shaanthi ,nemmadi needalendhu bayasuva..... nimminda ennu aneka rogigalu gunamukavaagali....

  • Eric Coelho, Mangalore/Ajman

    Mon, Jul 06 2009

    I would rate this Article "Excellent". Her face is embodied with confidence, expression and the will to live and pursue her work.

  • Della , Mangalore

    Mon, Jul 06 2009

    Good article. Long live Mrs. Devaki and may you give more healing touch for needy and those who are suffering.

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