In a country that is known for its immense faith in herbs, stars and sadhus, mystery cures are a way of life. While medical research institutes are spending millions to find a cure for asthma, the Bathini Goud family of Hyderabad claims to have cured lakhs of asthmatics over the past 156 years.
Though the Indian Medical Association has declared it unlawful and unethical, almost everyone from mantris to the common man seems to have taken the bait. Approximately six lakh people from across the country queued up at Hyderabad’s Exhibition Grounds to take the ‘medicine’ this year.
It is said that the Bathini Goud family has been administering fish medicine to asthma patients for more than a century. Desperate to find a permanent cure for breathlessness, wheezing and those painful sleepless nights, thousands of people suffering from problems such as eosinophilia (high eosinophil count) and asthma visit Hyderabad each year and swallow live Murrells as part of the fish eating ritual. The ‘medicine’, if taken for three consecutive years, is supposed to cure asthma patients.
While physicians in India and abroad state that this unorthodox cure has no clinical validity, the Goud family has remained as mysterious as the fish medicine they provide, refusing to come forward and share the secret. But is scientific validity an issue for the thousands who throng there each year? The six lakh strong crowd doesn’t seem too worried!