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How Santals Treat Illness from 'Rehe Raan'

♫♫Hane dular koyog mese bir buru sona disom haire.

Bai Bai te Nana hunar dare nari ujar cabakan.

Somaj tala re ayam hor do rehe raan ko badaiya.

bir buru re ayam lekan rehe ran ko mena.

bir buru dare nari re nidir do lago wen. cedam japetak ebhen me

Ruwa haso re rehe raan ko kotea me.

Hane dular koyog……

Bai Bai te Nana……

Ban tahen ran rahe bir tala

Daya gebon koyo barai tandi tala

Darai Kan din redo raan rehe mohor metaa .

Hudis abon gandona dulara

Darai Kan din redo bir buru dare ko mohor metaa.♫♫




(♫♫Look friends, the forests and mountains in our country, are so lovely.

Gradually many types of trees are becoming extinct.

The people of Santhal society know many types of indigenous medicines.

The Forest is being cut down.

Why are you sleeping?

Arise and get up…treat ill people with rehe raan.

If rehe raan becomes unavailable in the forests, our fields will become empty and we will look at the empty fields, hopelessly.

We should think and be concerned….

In some days the forests will be gone forever. ♫♫)

The Santhals make many types of ‘Rehe Raan’ ( ‘jari buti’ / medicinal herbs) medicine, using forest trees and their roots. Now the jari buti medicine culture is dying. Only a few people have knowledge about the Rehe Raan medicine. My baba is also one of them. His name is Sukram Marandi. He is from Bihar district Jamui and lives in Lohsinghna village.

My father never went to school. Often my Baba talks about my Dakaba (Grandfather), Barku Marandi. He once told me, “You are our only son and we have lots of farmland. You will survive easily. Will you study and become an officer? Just stay at home and take care of the fields.” My Baba had inherited a share of the farmland from my Dakaba. My Baba also learned to make Rehe Raan medicine from him. It was a time when there were no hospitals. Baba and Dakaba would go to the nearby forests to find them. Gradually Baba started understanding medicine and began to recognize Rehe Raan.

Searching for the medicinal herbs in forest

Today, my father has knowledge about many types of medicines. He knows how to treat many illnesses, for both humans and animals, like cough, period cramps, cuts and wounds, medicines for animals like cows, goats and pigs. However, treating hydrocele or Ekasiraa is his specialty. This condition is caused mostly due to inflammation or injury to the scrotum, in men. Delay in treatment leads to expensive operations.


My Gogo, Lilimuni Hansda, helps my Baba in making medicines. Making medicines requires knowledge, skill and precision. It is a tough job and requires hard work. People come to Baba from far off places for medicines. Baba does not ask for money for the medicines. He usually says, “I am happy to receive anything you give out of your happiness .”


My Baba has repeatedly told me over the years that only one or two people had come to him to learn jari buti medicine. One of the major reasons for this is that in the nearby forest, jari buti is slowly dying. As the population is growing, more and more trees are being cut down. These days, to get jari buti medicine, one has to travel far. Preparing one medicine usually takes 1-2 days, which involves a lot of hard work. People are not ready to put in so much labour.

Making medicines from the herbs

Today, Rehe Raan medicine is valuable. The village is economically poor. Government hospitals do not charge money, but medicines are not available in these hospitals. Also, the treatment facilities are not good and they often fail to provide the right treatment. Rehe Raan can be used in treating multiple diseases, but as forests are being cleared, Rehe Raan is becoming less and less available. It is important to save the Rehe Raan medicine culture and so we need to save forests. People do not have information and awareness about Rehe Raan. Even I did not have knowledge on Rehe Raan. Presently I am learning about it. I also think that the Government and NGOs, should ponder about this form of medicine and promote it.


Note:- This article was written as part of Project Kurumutu, a sill development space organized by Sinchan Education and Rural Entrepreneurship Foundation.

About the author:- Sarita Marandi is an Undergraduate student from Lohsinghna village of Jamui district, Bihar she works as a mentor in lahanti club and teaches children in her free time.

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