Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) There will be no fish prasadam distribution for asthama patients in Hyderabad for a third consecutive year in view of Covid-19 pandemic.
Bathini Goud family has decided not to conduct the annual event this year too as a precautionary measure.
Bathini Harinath Goud and his family members had cancelled the fish prasadam distribution in 2020 due to the pandemic. Last year, the second wave of Covid forced the cancellation.
Though the pandemic situation this year is under control, Goud said they have decided not to organise distribution as a measure of abundant precaution.
Thousands of asthma patients from various parts of the country gather in Hyderabad to receive the 'fish prasadam' (offering), as the medicine began to be called by the Bathini Goud family a decade ago after rationalists challenged its efficacy.
Members of Bathini Goud family administer the 'wonder drug' on 'Mrigasira Karti', (during first week of June) which heralds the onset of monsoon.
Despite the controversies which hit its popularity in recent years, people continue to throng the venue in the hope of finding some relief to their nagging respiratory problems. However, the numbers have dwindled over the years.
The asthmatics gulp down a live amurrel' fish with a yellow herbal paste in its mouth, which is believed to provide the much-needed relief, if taken for three consecutive years. For vegetarians, the family gives the medicine with jaggery.
The Goud family has been distributing the 'fish medicine' free of cost for the last 175 years. It claims that the secret formula for the herbal medicine was given to their ancestors in 1845 by a saint after taking an oath from him that it would be administered free of cost.
Every year, various government departments make elaborate arrangements for the annual event held in Exhibition Grounds in the heart of the city.
Till two decades ago, the family used to distribute the herbal remedy at their ancestral house in Doodhbowli in the old city. Following advise by the government, they shifted the venue for better management of crowd.