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Indian medicines, natural farming keep them going

By P. Sudhakar

TIRUNELVELI, OCT. 17. Though the official machinery has been conducting the pulse polio immunisation programme for the past few years, a family near Valliyoor refuses to receive any allopathic medicine. It believes that these vaccines are the root cause of so many ailments.

Moreover, the grandchildren of 66-year-old Ali Manikfan's family on the Aarupuli Road are being educated by their elders in a playway method as they also have developed a deep distrust of the present system. The children fluently converse in good English and effortlessly operate the computer in their secluded house.

Fatal incident

Mr. Ali, who migrated from the Minicoy Islands 12 years ago with his wife and four children, was also in Kerala for few years. He discouraged allopathic medicines since his early days, and switched to the Indian medicine system when one of his granddaughters died after having been given polio drops.

"This incident induced me to have a deep faith in our traditional medicines. Following my footsteps, my daughter, who lost her first girl child, refused to vaccinate when she was carrying the second baby. The two are healthy now," Mr. Ali says.

Farm vegetables

Sweet flag, cumin seed, coconut, banana and the pomegranate juice, which develop immunity, play a major role in the life of Mr. Ali's family. His son, Moosa Manikfan, an employee of a merchant navy, still takes Indian medicines whenever he falls sick. Most of the vegetables they use are from their farm, nourished only with organic manure.

Fresh and half-boiled vegetables are their chief dishes. Occasionally they go in for non-vegetarian dishes also. Instead of toilet soaps, Mr. Ali and his family members use coconut fibres.

Mr. Ali, a former employee of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, uses only batteries to operate computer as there is no power connection to his house.

A small windmill is being used to draw water from the well dug by Mr. Ali. He plans to instal solar panels to `power' his house.

He also visits schools and colleges in Kerala to deliver lectures on the advantages of following the Indian medicine system and natural farming.

No schooling

Though two of his daughters did not have proper schooling, they have successfully passed the tests for the teacher posts in the Islamic Model School at Azhagiyamandapam in Kanyakumari district and his son got a job in the merchant navy after passing necessary tests.

"Since my children and grandchildren can learn a lot through the education being imparted by me, I discourage the idea of having knowledge from your educational system,'' says Mr. Ali.

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