Bathini Goud Brothers
||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (June 2008)|
The Bathini Goud Brothers is a Goud family living in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. The Goud family claims to be able to cure asthma using a home made ancestral remedy. The treatment involves the swallowing of live fish (2 Inch) filled with medicine, claiming that it will cure asthma. The Goud Family cliams, they had been successively offering the treatment for more than 160 years, crediting the secret to their great grandfather Bathini Veeranna Goud, a toddy tapper.
The family consists of the Harinath Goud, Sri Vishwanath Goud, Uma Maheshwar Goud, and previously included the late Somalingam Goud and Shivram Goud.
Nature of the treatment
Bathini Fish Medicine (also known as Bathini Mrugasira Fish) is stuffed inside the mouth of live murrel fish (Channa species also classified as Ophiocephalus) of 2 in. to 2.5 in. (5 cm to 6 cm) in size. Then fish with medicine is slipped into the mouth of the asthmatic patient.(The fish is slippery, so there is no problem in swallowing it) This live fish moves, wagging its tail and fins, through the throat and negotiates the phlegm congestion, providing cure to asthma, it is claimed. The advice is to continue taking the treatment together with a strict diet over 45 days during each of three consecutive years. The claim is that this will give a complete cure from asthma.
Bathini Fish Medicine is served and administered on a specific day called "Mrigishira Karthi", which is fixed each year by astrologers and normally coincides with the arrival of monsoon rains, the first or second week of June. Bathini Fish Medicine is given on Mrigishira Karti Nakshatra. Three doses of the extra medicine is also provided to patients, which is to be taken on three successive kartis: Arudra Karthi, Punnavasu Karthi and Pushymi Karti, these days being spaced each fifteen days, making a total of 45 days. After taking Bathini Fish Medicine the patient has to be under strict diet control for 45 days.
According to the Bathini Goud family, their late great grandfather used to distribute a pot of toddy along with white bread to the laborers who had been working hard, as a charitable donation. In 1845 a holy man (Hindu saint) happened to meet him and gave him a secret formula of some miraculous herbs, and blessed the well and the place of administration of the treatment. He instructed him to offer the treatment free of cost to asthma sufferers.
It is claimed, the secret formula was passed to Shiva Ram Goud who later passed it on to Shanker Goud. The popularity of the supposed cure greatly increased during Shanker Goud's tenure and then was passed down to his five sons. It has been the practice of the Goud family for the past 160 years to offer this medicine free to those who need it.
The Bathini Goud family have never disclosed the ingredients of the sample, citing the following reasons:
- The formula or ingredients must not be disclosed as they fear the medicine will "lose its efficacy". This is because their great-grandfather promised the holy man who gave him the herbs that he would distribute the medicine at free of cost and would never reveal the formula;
- They do not wish to see the exploitation of the medicine by others;
- The remedy will lose its potency if commercialised.
The Jana Vignana Vedika, a rationalist organisation, filed a petition in city court for not disclosing the ingredients of the medicine. Scientists and the Indian Medical Association forced the state government and high court to collect samples to be verified. They suggested that the medicine might contain steroids, heavy metals or mercury.
Response to allegations
On 6 June 2004, the Bathini Goud family handed over a sample for scientific analysis in 2004 and 2005. No harmful ingredients have been identified so far. The Bathini Goud Brothers Viswanatham Goud and Harinath Goud brushed aside the allegations and said anyone could collect the samples if they came to the venue on 8 June 2004, when the medicine would be served. asserting that the family had been providing a service free of cost without aspiring for fame. Harinath Goud claimed he and his brothers had been following the advice of their forefathers. He also claimed that since 1845 there had been an increasing number of people following the treatment, but no casualties (see below) .
The Gouds cautioned - again without any supporting evidence - against other people using their name and administering the treatment in other parts of India and the world. They said that their treatment would only be given in Hyderabad at the Exhibition Grounds on the day of Mrigasira Karthi.
The Andhra Pradesh High Court Division Bench, on 27 January 2006 declined to interfere and pass any orders regarding the administration of the substance popularly known as fish medicine. They reasoned that although the treatment had no medicinal value, analysis had shown the samples to not be harmful. They said that "if people flock to have a substance out of faith the courts cannot interfere".
The bench was closing petitions filed by the Jana Vignan Vedika organisation and others. The petitioners complained that even after it was established that the substance distributed by the Bathini Goud Brothers had no medicinal value, no action had been initiated by the government and against the claims of a cure for asthma.It has shown positive response over years
- Diet Instructions
- BBC (9 June, 2003): Indians flock for asthma 'cure'
- CNN.com World, Offbeat News (10 June, 2003): Asthmatics gulp down live fish
- The Hindu (7 June 2004): Bathini brothers brushed aside allegations - without any supporting evidence -
- No Interference in Bathini Fish Medicine: High Court