Deccan Chronicle

Bonalu can ward off diseases: G Narender Babu

Deccan Chronicle| santosh padala

Published on: August 3, 2015 | Updated on: Invalid date

It’s celebrated seeking protection of children

A file photograph of Bonalu procession. Photo: DC

A file photograph of Bonalu procession. Photo: DC

Karimnagar: Bonalu, a social festival celebrated in the entire Telangana region with spiritual fervour and gaiety with worship of local goddesses, can prevent spread of certain diseases, according to Dr G. Narender Babu, a retired botany Professor of the city. Hindus celebrate this festival during the Telugu months of Aashadam and Sravanam, seeking protection of their children, cattle and other domestic animals and crops from some seasonal diseases that are rampant in the same period.

Usually, Bonalu (mud pots carried on heads of women) are decorated with powder of limestone, turmeric and leaves of neem. Turmeric paste is also applied on the feet, hands and faces of the women and men who participate in the Bonalu procession. Dry turmeric and vermilion powder is also sprinkled in the air during procession being taken out to present prasadam, cooked in the pots, to offer to the village goddesses. Some devotees offer toddy and sacrifice of chicken and sheep to express their gratitude for fulfilling their aspirations.
Mr Narender said that the disease-causing microorganisms increase manifold in the air and soil as the atmosphere becomes cool due to the rains. This can result in outbreak of cold, cough, asthma, pneumonia, diarrhoea, leprosy, tetanus, anthrax and many skin diseases in humans, livestock and crops in Aashadam and Shravanam months, he stated.

"It is proved that the turmeric powder contains antimicrobial properties. Similarly, many chemicals with antimicrobial properties are produced in neem leaves and some of them evaporate and spread in the air. Therefore, they both kill the diseases-causing microorganisms and prevent them from entering the body through feet, hands and face as they are smeared with turmeric paste during the festival.

Thus, they play a vital role in preventing spread of the seasonal air-borne diseases including pneumonia, conjunctivitis, allergies and many skin allergies.Bonalu festival is not a mere social activity, but also an important disease preventing and controlling measure, followed across Telangana, explained the retired Professor.

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