Through this website, it is my aim to dessiminate information about traditional herbal knowledge, medicinal plants, biodiversity, environmental threats and other issues related to Patalkot. Its been almost one and half decade, I am trying my best to scout and document age-old herbal knowledge of tribesmen living here. Currently, I am in process to digitalize the complete information so that I gift it to the coming generations of enthusiast workers. I think, it is need of the hour to prepare a plan for conservation of medicinal plants as well as documentation of indigenous knowledge of tribes of this area and various other hilly zones of Satpuda platue.
I came across various problems of the tribals during my work in the valley. Deforestation, poaching, forest mafia and other sensible issues related to over harvesting in valley. I acted quickly and thought the issues should be brought to a broader platform. I started writing articles on issues such as indigenous knowledge, healthcare remedies, tribal issues, threats in the valley, migration, deforestation, medicinal plant uprooting, role of brokers and many more in various National and International magazines. A complete coverage of my mission in Patalkot was given as a cover story by Wall Street Journal, USA. ECOS-Australia also published couple of articles on threatening issues of Patalkot and also it described about the wisdom of tribal folks of this valley. Medicinal flora and biodiversity of this valley is currently in danger and there is greater need to take immediate initiatives so that the culture and rare plants of the valley are saved. I have been seeking help from National and International core groups/ agencies but could’nt get success, still, there is no way to giving it up.
Government and local administration is planning to make this place a tourist spot. For past 4-5 years, there are events like paraglyding, paracycling, water rafting, rock climbing, balloon riding etc. are being organised on the name of eco-tourism and upliftment of local folks living in the valley. According to my own views, making it an Eco-Tourist’s spot is a big threat to the beauty of the valley, You may read my bytes and opinion in various media clips available on this site. There are several other issues on which Government has to think upon before implementing any of such projects. Their culture should not be in danger or spoiled. Biotic pressure should not affect their life style and culture. We must seek a way to avoid interference of so called Forest Mafias. Tribals have been cheated a lot by the politicians, policy makers, educational institutes, scientists, NGOs and harvesters.
It is also home to a tribal culture skilled at using the forest plants to make effective medicines. The Patalkot forest is so well hidden that people on the outside did not even know it ever existed. The modern world has been completely unaware of its existence. Now there are increasing threats of deforestation and exploitation of the people there. The natives (Bharias and Gonds) who live there know how to collect and grow the plants they need for food, clothing and building their homes. They know the secrets of the medicinal plants. This special skill has been passed down every generation. More than 2,000 natives live in villages scattered throughout the forest. There is a great harmony among them living in a comfortable balance, gladly helping each other, growing and collecting their own food. They are unusually skilled at making pulps and extracts of plants for curing illnesses. They have medicinal treatments for many illnesses including, measles, cholera, hypertension, diabetes, coughs, snake bites, and even pains. Patalkot was becoming famous for its treasure of medicinal plants. With the discovery Patalkot’s treasures, some other things began to happen. The natives are generous with their knowledge and offer their medicinal secrets with open hearts. This is how the people there have always survived, by sharing information and supplies with each other. People who came to the forest, however, saw a way to profit from this. They brought in teams of harvesters to strip the forest for valuable herbs. They sold them outside for great profit. Important and endangered medicinal plants are at the verge of death/ extinction. And even more, whole sections of forest were cut to gain easier access to collection sites. In return outsiders gave the tribal people portable radios that blared through the forest, frightening off wildlife and quickly replacing the communal music that bound the tribes together. This enabled the loggers to cut down the trees very easily. The tribals of the valley regions are well versed in treating various types of human disorder or ailments.
I am distressed to see these things happening and now I am acting quickly to protect the valley and its people. It is wonderful to discover a place full of natural treasures, but we must always protect a place we love without demanding any returns. I urge people to come forward and save this beautiful valley and culture of the people.
My mission is to scout, document the indigenous knowledge and convert it into finished products so that people all around the world get safer, cheaper and healthier herbal options for their health. In other words, the process is like translation tribals knowledge into finished products by the means of tools of modern science. In the whole process, I am determined to safeguard their IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) and acknowledge them financially out from the profit.
It is need of the hour to prepare a plan for conservation of medicinal plants as well as documentation of indigenous knowledge of tribes. It should be so designed that the children and youth can play an important role in the process. Unfortunately, not only are we facing the problem of pollution, biodiversity extinction but the country is also passing through a crisis of character. In these alarming situations, there is still a ray of hope because the children and youth have maintained their morale. I pray God to give everybody the desire and commitment to save their nature and its resources.