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Home-made brew a part of their life

Correspondent

Tribals of Koraput prepare liquor from locally available fruits, cereals and sugarcane and serve it on every occasion

KORAPUT: Urmila Nayak of Padampur village in Koraput block was cutting cashew fruits into tiny pieces for preparing liquor from it. It would be ready in five days and the guests could be served then, she said. Home made brew has been a part and parcel of the tribal way of life, Jagabandhu Samal, retired professor and a researcher on tribal issues, says.

Offering to deity

The tribal communities in Koraput region prepare liquor from many locally available fruits, cereals like rice, ragi, cashew fruit, mohulo and sugarcane. They also draw liquid from trees like khajra and salap to drink them in various forms, he says. Liquor prepared in this manner is dear to them and they also offer it to their deity as a token of love. Just like tea or coffee this home-made liquor is offered to guests.

Interestingly liquor is shared between the lender and borrower while taking a hand loan and repaying it, he says. Liquor is blended with the very life of the tribal people at each and every step, beginning from birth to death.

Festivals are incomplete without taking a sip of this home-made liquor; marriages are arranged on terms of number of liquor-filled cans one needs to offer to the other party. However, liquor has also been the cause of social degradation in the tribal community.

Dangers

With passing of time, the process of making liquor is diluted in the community to make it more commercial and various spurious items like ammonia and urea are added to accelerate the process of fermentation. This liquor was dangerous and many had died of it.

Many steps were initiated by the district administration to put a check on it. But looking at the cultural linkage to the practice much could not be achieved.

Hence instead of trying to put a complete ban on liquor consumption, making people aware of safe preparation of home-made liquor could bring down these deaths substantially, he says.

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