THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:The life of Lakshmikutty Amma, the tribal medical practitioner who recently shot to fame when the Centre honoured her with the Padma Shri, exemplifies the need to live in harmony with nature. Lakshmikutty, a member of the Kani tribe, lives in a small thatched hut in the forests of Kallar near Ponmudi, Thiruvananthapuram.
The award has turned her life upside down as patients - including those from neighbouring states - queue up in front of her hut. But the striking aspect is the way she has chosen to live her life even after becoming a celebrity. She nurtures around 150 herbal medicine plants, which have saved around 350 people bitten by poisonous snakes.
Even at the age of 75, she ventures into the forest for collecting herbs needed for treatment. She wakes up at 5 am and continues her medical experiments such as preparing concoctions late into the night. In between, she attends to patients who turn up at her doorstep for help.
When Express met her, Lakshmikutty was aiming a traditional bow at a fruit-laden tree nearby. She goes on to explain that even though her elder son was killed by a wild elephant near Muthumala, tribals don’t die in in rain-related incidents as they know the pulse of nature. They live in accordance with the unwritten rules of nature and would do nothing that would harm their existence.
“My two sons and husband have passed away. And one son is working with the Indian Railways. I could go and live with him in town. But I like to spend my twilight years alone in this forest as I am sure nature will not harm me anymore as long as I don’t upset nature,” she said.
“I have been prescribing traditional medicines for snakebite for the past 46 years, making use of traditional knowledge handed down through generations. You can see snakes criss-crossing the terrain if you wait for sometime here, but they will not bite me as I am living in harmony with the nature around me,” she said.
The steady flow of patients has made life a bit difficult for Lakshmikutty, as she does on depend on anyone else to collect raw materials from the forest and make medicines. Her tale of struggle is an inspiration as she takes care of precious lives as well as the nature that surrounds her.