It pays to be a donkey as villagers pay Rs 2K for a litre of milk in Tamil Nadu
Milk price is a touchy subject that even governments fret over but there is one milk in Tamil Nadu whose high price Rs 2,000 per litre does not dissuade users.
Published: 02nd January 2023 07:21 AM | Last Updated: 02nd January 2023 07:21 AM | A+A A-
TENKASI: Milk price is a touchy subject that even governments fret over but there is one milk in Tamil Nadu whose high price Rs 2,000 per litre does not dissuade users. The belief of rural folk in donkey milk as a panacea for diseases seems to have stood the test of time as they continue to feed unboiled milk to children in small quantities for various ailments, though there is no scientific evidence to prove that it actually works.
About 25ml of donkey milk that’s fed to babies through ‘sangu’ or a small silver utensil costs Rs 50, say villagers. It’s not uncommon to see milk sellers with their donkeys on village streets across the Tenkasi district announcing their arrival through handheld speakers. They visit each village once every fortnight.
A boy who was selling donkey milk said his family had come from Tiruchy district, located 320km from Tenkasi, to sell milk in Senthamaram, Thippanampatti, Poolangulam, Muthukrishnaperi and Kalathimadam villages.
“My father and mother frequently visit these villages with our seven donkeys in a mini truck. As my school is closed for holiday, I’ve joined them this time,” he said, holding his two donkeys. About 20 to 30 residents buy the milk in each village, he said. I milk my donkeys in front of the customers and give them fresh milk, he said.
“Most customers buy at least 50ml of milk. We stay in a community hall in Alangulam whenever we come to Tenkasi district,” he said.
‘No scientific proof for donkey milk’s efficacy’
“My dad, mom, and I will take two donkeys each to different villages. We feed our donkeys near the community hall during morning and evening hours,” he said. They walk through the streets with a handheld loudspeaker announcing that donkey milk will cure diseases like poor appetite, psoriasis, and digestion-related issues in children.
“I purchased 50ml of donkey milk to feed my two-year-old child to improve her appetite. She likes its taste. I believe she would start eating well after consuming the milk,” said A Ponnammal. M Chinnathai said she bought milk to feed her boy for stomachache.
Dr J John Singh, a government paediatrician, told TNIE that there is no evidence to prove that donkey milk cures any of these diseases. “It is just like cow and goat milk. It may contain nutrients like others. Drinking it in an unboiled state will infect children’s intestines and cause diarrhoea,” he said.