POISON DAMSELS

POISON DAMSELS
POISON DAMSELS Priya Xaxa

POISON DAMSELS

Ever imagine of a person who, even if bitten by the most venomous snake in the world, could just survive without even an antidote?

History has a hoard store of mysteries and astonishing myths that keep surfacing from time to time. Some of them seem so unbelievable, but history also provides evidences in wondrous ways. One of such astonishing thing that I’m going to discuss here is about the Poison Damsels or Vish Kanya. Sounds weird, right? But apparently the mention of this subject has surfaced to our day today lives innumerable times in different ways. The most recent was, that in the tribal community and also some other communities of Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh, was found that these so called ‘Vish Kanya’ still exist today and that these girls make it a mission of their life to carry out this tradition unlike some other traditional practices which gradually subjected to extinction.

India seems to have a long tradition of belief in poison damsels. We have found evidences of it in literature, folklore stories and myths. Vish Kanya or Poison Damsels were described to be young, beautiful women reportedly used as assassins, often against powerful enemies, during the times of Ancient Indian Subcontinent. To consume poison in their meals is told to be normal, they had it in breakfast, in lunch and even in dinner. It was believed that it became impossible to sleep without the consumption of venom. Surely, a lot of you must have heard about it from your grandparents and read in stories that these extremely beautiful enticing maidens could breathe poison, venom flowed in their veins and that a mere touch of theirs could be as dangerous as an instant death. Dr. J. Jamshedji Modi in his article “The Story of Alexander the Great and the Poison-Damsel of India. A Trace of it in Firdousi’s Shah Nameh” mentions of the types of poison damsels that have been recorded in various Indian and Persian writings. The types mentioned are:

  1. “A poison-damsel, in the original sense of the word seems to mean a damsel who does harm deceitfully in some way or other to another person.”
  2. “She is one, born under an inauspicious configuration or conjugation of planets. So, she does harm to one who marries her. It is this view, that seems to have led, and even now seems to lead, many Indian parents to resort to an astrologer to ascertain, whether the planets, under the influence of which their children are born, are of the same conjunction or not. The happiness or otherwise of marriage depends upon that.”
  3. “A damsel who is, in some way or other, so much poisoned or infected with a disease, that she is likely to convey her poison or infectious disease to the person, who has intercourse with her or who comes into some form of close contact with her, and to bring about his death. A woman infected with a venereal disease is a poison-damsel of this kind.”
  4. “A damsel who has actually saturated her body with gradual doses of poison, and who, therefore, is in a state believed to be likely to convey the poison of her body, so saturated, to another person who comes into contact with her.”
  5. “A damsel who treacherously captivates the heart of a person, and then actually gives him some poison in food or drink.”

Existence in contemporary times

The recent discovery of existing poison damsels in Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh has led to various questions such as, even if these people consume venom, how is it that they survive the venom’s effect and become immune to it whereas a mere drop can lead to the death of even a huge elephant. It is of questionable nature to think alone that can these poison damsels actually exist among us even today. Well, a recent study conducted by a News TV Channel shows that they do live among us. Also the study shows existence of poison man as well. In the jungles of Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh women are found to be using poison to fight off evil. Evil that takes the form of dark criminal minds that prey on their helplessness and take advantage of the situation. These women are also called the Snake women of the Santhal parganas, who attack intruders and threaten them with venom of snakes. These girls and women actually don’t consume venom like it used to be traditionally, instead carry it around to protect themselves. The venom they carry is so effective that death comes almost instant. These young girls have to spend almost the entire day in the dense jungles either to collect firewood or leaves. The jungles are full of wild animals who could attack them at any time and there will be no one around to even help them, that is why they stick to measures as these, carrying around sharp pointed instruments loaded with snake poison, securely hiding them in their clothes either around their waist or in the form of amulets around the upper arms or neck.

History and Origin

Origin of poison damsels dates back to centuries earlier. We’ve heard in folklores and stories that Kings in ancient times used to select young girls when they were just babies to raise them up as Poison Maidens. So a carefully crafted diet of poison and antidote were given from a very young age. This practice is also called Mithridatism after the  Greek Emperor Mithridates VI of Pontus, who practiced it to protect himself from enemies. Evidences of practice of Poison girls in India have been found in literary works of Chanakya, like in Arthasastra, in books, Sukasaptati, Chanakya’s Chant, a Latin work called Secretum Secretorum. The story of attack on Alexander the Great by sending him a beautiful maiden(which in fact was a poison maiden) by an Indian King is popular. There are various versions of the story, three of them seemingly more authentic, in which a maiden is sent to Alexander as a gift, he is at once enticed by the beauty and wants to have her but the original motive behind sending her is seen through by Aristotle or another minister and Alexander is saved and the girl is killed. According to the historians, while raising these girls, many would not survive, those that did were immune to other poisons and their body fluids would be poisonous to others; sexual contact would thus be lethal to other humans. There also exists a myth that says a Visha Kanya can cause instant death with just a touch.

Article on Poison Girls

Current Practioners

The study conducted by the news channel showed, there were people some of which openly declared being a poison man or woman and some who thought it was better to remain concealed. Some among them who opened up were Peelu Ram and Ashok of Jashpur, Chhatisgarh etc., other were women who opened up but didn’t disclose their name. They also made it clear that this practice was still being carried on not for any addiction or drug purpose, but only to preserve their tradition which is hundreds of centuries old and also want to pass it on to their younger generations. Even Historians like Santosh Panday and C.V. Daniel asserted that these people who are trying to preserve their traditions is a good thing.

How its done

For most people though (as it was my first question too) it was hard to believe as to how this practice was still carried on. How did the consumption of venom not kill them? Upon lots of queries these people have explained that since directly consuming the venom can burn out their veins and esophagus, so most of them dried the venom, churned it into powder and then consumed it little by little, and gradually when their system gets adapted they can even drink the venom directly and nothing would happen to them.

Similar practices from around the globe

This practice isn’t just present in India, but in other countries as well. China being the most popular, but there they eat snakes not the venom alone, as they believe snake has medicinal properties which can control and cure blood pressure and heart diseases. Also an American scientist, Tim Freddie has researched upon the medicinal properties of venom and is trying to create an anti-venom vaccine, in the process of which he has bitten himself altogether 160 times by various dangerous snakes. He said it burns in his skin for a moment and there is little swelling around the bitten part, but they soon disappear since his body has also become immune to the snake poison.

Existence of people like these in one way seems unimaginable in modern days, but evidences like these leave you speechless. They are no less than super people with super capability, except for a fact that, in ancient times they existed to safeguard and protect the Kings and today they exist to protect and safeguard their traditions.

The rigorous adoption law makes it way more difficult for a single father, in India

Creating a bridge of norms, the law guiding the adoption procedure in India, has significantly made it difficult to carry on the noble caus of aboption for a single parent, specifically a male. The adoption law is under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956. Under this act, a single parent or married couple is not permitted to adopt more than one child of the same sex. Foreign citizens, NRIs, and those Indian nationals who are Muslims, Parsis, Christians or Jews are subject to the Guardian and Wards Act of 1890. Under this act, the adoptive parent is only the guardian of the child until she reaches 18 years of age. Also, the eligibility criteria for this nobility are that an adoptive parent should be medically fit and financially able to care for a child. A person wishing to adopt a child must be at least 21 years old. There is no legal upper age limit for parents but most adoptive agencies set their own benchmarks with regard to age. For a child who is less than a year old, the adoptive parents can have a maximum combined age of 90 years. Also, neither of the parent must be older than 45 years. And many such guidelines are must to be adhered under this law. 

But, Tusshar Kapoor found a whole new way to embark the journey of a single father

The infamous Bollywood actor known for his comedy genre in Hindi movies, from Golmaal to Kya Super kool hain hum, has turned out to be an inspiration to all the Indian men, who long to have a child of their own and not just confined to practice of being married to have a child. Tushar has just opened up the third gate to those who wish to enjoy the experience of single parenthood, being a male. “Parenthood is now an option for many who choose to be single parents” says the proud father of a baby boy, who is named ‘Laksshya’.

In the league of Sharukh khan and Aamir khan who have opted for Surrogacy, Tusshar kapoor seemed to be extremely elated at the glance of his baby boy, who is a gift of the process of surrogacy using IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai. Dr Firuza Parikh, Director of IVF and Genetics at the Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, who led the treatment said, “I am impressed with Tusshar’s determination to be a father. He maintained a keen interest in the baby’s health at every stage. He will surely be a sensitive and nurturing parent. Recently, we have had many single men and women approved for parenthood. As a public figure, Tusshar’s brave and bold decision will open the field of assisted reproduction making it accessible to not just single parents, but also to many who fervently desire to have a baby” in her talk with a national daily.

An in-flight chat with Prakash Jha, had sown the seeds to the thought of trying Surrogacy

Not many know that it was director Prakash Jha who enlightened and encouraged Tusshar about the latest medical process. Happy to finally realize his dream of becoming a father, Tusshar said, “Last year, I went to Tirupati temple. I happened to meet director Prakash Jha. We were in the same flight. He told me about this procedure (IVF) and how one could be a single parent using the same. He also introduced me to a family who had used surrogacy to have a baby. I felt inspired and decided to go in for the same.”

The actor also said that he was in a hurry to become a parent. “I will be 40 this year and that is why I went ahead with what was told to me and I am happy that I took the right decision. My family is complete now,” said Tusshar.

Newly become aunt Ekta Kapoor couldn't hold her joyfulness for long and took to the  Twitter to share the first picture of  ‘Laksshya’ with his grandfather and veteran actor Jeetendra ‘who is seen kissing the forehead’ and showering blessing on his first grandchild. Supportive to their son’s courageous decision, the proud grandparents, Jeetendra and wife Shobha Kapoor are quite enthusiastic to welcome the youngest kapoor member to their family and assuring that he‘ll get the ‘best father’ as Tusshar has always been a dotting son to them.

The bold step to embrace parenthood taken by Tusshar Kapoor shall surely bring about a change in the societal-thoughts on single-parenthood, if not reforms in the present rigid adoption law in India.

Delhi University’s first cut off list is out this Wednesday, i.e., 29 June, 2016 beginning the cycle of admission process and a big run for candidates to grab a seat out of the total 2.5Lakh  applications submitted.

Though no college has kept its cut off 100 percent from last year, yet the cut off percentages are soaring higher. Ramjas College, a prominent and the oldest college of North campus, has the highest cut off demanding 99.25 for B.com( Hons), 98.75 for B.Com and 98.5 for Economics Hons.

Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), the most sought- after college for Commerce and Economics in the country, has a cut off percentage of 98% for B. Com hons which has shot up a bit from last year where the cut off was 97.375. The cut- off for Economics hons has sticked the same as before, 98.25.

Hansraj College has maintained fairly same cut offs as the previous year.

Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College has raised its cut off as compared to last year, with 99% for B.Sc in Electronics.

Miranda College has also kept its cut off almost same, highest being 97.75 in Economics Hons and 97.50 in English Hons.

The first cut offs are drastically soaring higher annually, shattering the hopes of many students who dream of DU. Crossing 90% is so normal that the marks have lost their value. More seats must be made available and the students must be counselled properly not to take it to their hearts and handle it calmly, after all this is not the end of your life. Many colleges soar up the first cut- offs intentionally, and then get back to normal in the subsequent cut- off lists.

It is the impact of rising cut- off list that students have started to accept the stark reality and are resorting to other colleges as well via entrance or merit. This is a wise decision, because there are many colleges at par with DU, but people neglect it out of lack of awareness or guidance.

This year, the cut offs are expected to be closed even earlier as a consequence of more students in the 90+ list in the Best Four Subjects (BFS). Let us see what happens in the next lists. Will it bring relief for the candidates or break their hopes immensely? This is tough to answer but indisputably, rejections are deemed to be more than selections.

Deadly Attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh

On the last Friday of Ramadan, some nine terrorists attacked a Spanish restaurant, Holey Artisan Bakery, by opening fire and taking around 30 people hostage, news agencies quoted. The terrorists opened fire around 9.20 PM shouting ‘Allah Hu Akbar’ and closed the doors of the restaurant. Two Italian nationals have been killed as well as one police chief, Muhammad Salauddin of a Gulshan local police station. One more police personnel is injured and getting medical treatment in the local hospital.

Shooting in Dhaka Restaurant:

The attack was fully organized as the militants knew that on Friday there were a lot of people in and around that restaurant area. They are reported to have done recce of the place as that diplomatic place is under stringent security all the time. This is a security lapse by both the intelligence and local police. Rapid Action Force of Bangladesh (RAB) has been deployed in the diplomatic zone of Dhaka.

Attack in Dhaka

RAB Deployed:

The chief of the elite anti-crime force, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), informed reporters Friday night that they were working to save the lives of the people trapped inside the restaurant. Some foreigners are believed to be among the hostages. One driver who was present at the gate was shot in the neck. The driver is getting medical treatment.

Government has blocked live telecast of the current situation so as to procrastinate any untoward incidence. It is yet to ascertain, which terrorist organization these terrorist belong to. The purpose of the attack is not clear as the RAB or the local police are yet to establish connection with the terrorists holding up in the restaurant. It is reported that there may be around 60 people taken hostage as the capacity of the restaurant is around 100. This restaurant is an open Spanish restaurant.

Of late, there has been numerous attacks on Hindu nationals of Bangladesh and even this morning a Hindu priest was hacked to death by local extremists. The government has denied the hands of ISIS in any of the attacks happened in the recent past. Bangladeshi government has arrested around 8000 people against the recent attacks on the Hindu nationals.

Barack Obama has been briefed on the situation and Indian foreign office is in constant touch of the situation. Indian foreign office has confirmed that no Indian diplomats are in danger. "We have accounted for all Americans working for the chief of mission authority" in Dhaka, John Kirby, a State Department spokesman said. He called the situation "fluid." In the holy month of Muslims, a lot of deadly attacks have been reported. People have not come out of the shock of Istanbul attack and this attack in Dhaka has shaken everyone once again.

TAGS: Attack in Dhaka, Attack in Bangladesh, Dhaka Under Attack, Attack Dhaka Bangladesh

AAP - Playing a Dangerous Politics

Inciting the Incited

Our country, right from north to south is turning intolerant and terrorist-like along with political lunatics that are making the most out of such situations. A couple of days back 11 ISIS terrorists were caught from Hyderabad and further investigation is still on. They were planning to throw beef in Hindu temples in the area, in order to disturb the harmony of the place. The heat of the matter was not yet doused and our own beloved Delhi’s ruling party rose in the news again for plotting to create a riot like situation in the Punjab ahead of the state election next year.

The accused Vijay Kumar who is caught for desecrating the Qoran told the Sangrur police that he did it at the behest of Naresh Yadav, AAP MLA from Mehrauli, South Delhi area who offered him RS. 1 Crore to carry out the misdeeds. Earlier, the police had arrested three men — Vijay Kumar, Nand Kishore Goldy and Gaurav — who have reportedly confessed as reported in the Indian Express.

Vijay Kumar wanted to take the revenge of Pathankot incident and he said that he hated Pakistan. Naresh Yadav may have got to know about his intentions and leveraged the situation. “Vijay Kumar has stated that in Malerkotla, he was offered Rs 1 Crore for desecrating pages of Quran and throwing them near a drain on Khanna Road. Their plan was also to desecrate a Hindu holy book next,” said The Hindu. Naresh Yadav is booked for inciting riots in Punjab. The news came ahead of the three day Punjab visit of CM Arvind Kejriwal. Punjab’s fight against drug menace and similar desecration cases were reported earlier as well. Stop inciting the incited.

Look Back Before You Speak:

BJP and Congress are blamed for anything and everything. It is either a conspiracy or a political vendetta. A couple of AAP MLAs were arrested in 2015 for inciting riots.

Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker Akhilesh Tripathi was held in a 2013 case of rioting and criminal intimidation and sent to judicial custody for two days on November 26, 2015 by a Delhi court.

AAP MLA Mahendra Yadav was arrested for rioting, assaulting government official in January 29 2016.

Mr. CM says on Dadri incidence, ‘BJP should not spread hatred for political gains’. What a paradox!

Dirty and Dangerous Politics

“Anti-national agenda” supporting Khalistani ideologue, and accepting funds from Sikh separatists staying across the globe have thrown Punjabi’s into an uproar against the controversial Aam Aadm Party as said by Sukhpal Singh Khaira, a suspended AAP MLA. With the intention of fomenting trouble in the state, struggling to get out a decade old intoxication, AAP has passively been supporting the Khalistani movement. Altogether, 35000 terrorism afflicted families were to protest and stop his cavalcade to enter the state of Punjab.

Arvind Kejriwal has been speaking about the Sikh riots ever since he started sitting on Dharnas. He played a very tricky and mean role all these years.

Indian Mirror mentions “How articulately Arvind Kejriwal manipulates the reality can be judged during his hunger strike as Delhi CM in 2014. He had presented the wrong facts in media and the truth was entirely different.” He said that Delhi police is acting on center’s instructions and had blocked the toilets, though on camera his supporters were caught using the toilets. He blamed the police for removing tea stalls and drinking water. All his lies were caught on camera. He is best known for accusing and when caught runs away from the scene or does not talk about that after that. These smaller incidents talk volumes about his intentions.

On the 31st anniversary of India’s former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Kejriwal issued a cheque of Rs. Five lakh to the victim of deadliest carnage in Sikh history.  This was a joke as the victims got Rs. Five lakh after 31 years of the incidence, pittance. This shows he was using the matter to gain political mileage.

Lack of Proper Minister-in-Law: No Legal Consultation

All the educated ones have been suspended or ousted. There is literally no one to give them proper suggestion what to do and what not to do. The day Britain announced its separation from EU after the referendum, Arvind Kejriwal demanded Brexit like referendum in Delhi. Either he does not know or he ignores where he is trying to drag India to. Referendum is unconstitutional and cannot be held. If he believes in referendum, then why didn’t he demand referendum for Ram Mandir issue in UP or many such other issues? It is not only AAP that does all this, all the parties across India are guilty of this sort of things. But AAP riding on Anna Hazare’s back convinced the people of Delhi and India that he is not a politician, he is somebody who wants to get Delhi rid of corruption and bring prosperity to the state. Later on, when he realizes that he has power, he started to dream of a PM position. He directly targets PM Narendra Modi. He became so excited that he forgot the dignity of CM’s position and used bad language while speaking about the PM of the nation.

He has not spared Media people either. There is this full page article by two NDTV journalists who were thrashed by Mr. CM, and they started doing investigative journalism. They brought the nexus of extracting money from people looking for government positions, in light. His souring party funds is always a point of concern for the people of India as well as for the other political parties. AAP or any other party for that matter should fight for basic needs like education, health and sanitation curbing poverty and all, not the way AAP is behaving. It is dangerous for the country.

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