Traces of Folk Medicine in Jaunpur

Essay Excerpt

In a village compound built along a hillside in northern Utter Pradesh, Puskarji, a 90-year-old healer, told my research assistant, Jyoti, and I about a valuable book that he had once possessed. "My father had a book that was later lost. It was a published book with mantra cures for illnesses; every method of healing was in that book. My father got the book from a man who lived beyond Tehri, a man who knew mantras. My father learned from that book; later I also learned from it." Unfortunately, Puikarji continued, he had loaned the book to a nephew who had never returned it. He had made repeated efforts to get the book back but without success. He spoke wistfully and angrily of this excellent printed book of healing lore that he used to possess. "Nothing bad ever happens in the house where that book is kept," he said.

Puikarji's lost book is a useful allegory for the subject of this article, which is the relationship between ethnography and the knowledge practices of certain elderly healers living in Jaunpur, a region of the Uttarakhand (the Himalayan foothills of northern India) (271).

Langford, Jean M. "Traces of Folk Medicine in Jaunpur." Cultural Anthropology 18.3(2003): 271-303.

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