Koya Doras cash in on people's curiosity


The Times of India News Service

HYDERABAD: They tell you your future, but when it comes to theirs, it could not be anymore unsure than it is now. They tell the same story each time but with a difference.

"Presently, you are surrounded by troubles. Good period will start in three months. You go out and help people, but nobody helps you. You do good things but people will not understand you......." the story is repeated similar to a record player. But, it is the curiosity of people about their future and their mental weakness that helps these Koya Doras survive even in the fast changing world.

Koya Doras as they are known popularly hail from various tribal areas of the State and are usually seen sitting along the compound walls of the Secretariat and Assembly enticing public.

"It is not easy to get into this profession. We will have to undergo training for 12 years just like going to high school study. We are taught how to read old scriptures and importance of herbs and their usage," said Narasimha Raju, who hails from Bhadrachalam.

Many of these tribals do not own land to cultivate and also do not have any employment opportunities. Only a few prefer to work as a labourer. Idi ma vrutti. cheyataniki vere ami ledu (This is our profession and we do not have any other things to do)," K Shanker, another fortune teller said.

They charge customers Rs 11 for a ten-minute story. If the customer is found in deep trouble or appears to be mentally weak, he or she will be asked to have one `talisman' which would benefit him, for which they charge extra depending on the paying capacity.

"We earn Rs 150 to Rs 200 a day. It does not come easy. We have to sit under sun the whole day looking for customers. Okay, I am able to maintain my wife and two children. But it is becoming very hard to live and I do not know what happens in future," said another Koya Dora C Laxman Raju.

Though they discharge their duty very easily, many of them contend that it is a difficult job and requires a lot of training. All they have is a bunch of palm leaves with diagrams on it. A customer has to insert money into the bunch, from where a leaf is opened and read out. They also cheer their young male customers saying `Neeku iddaru baryalu untaru (You will have two wives)' the most common among the things they say.


Abject condition of women’s prisons deplored


Policymakers and activists attending a seminar organised here by the National Commission for Women (NCW) on “Women in Detention” have strongly deplored the abject and inhuman conditions prevailing in women's prisons across the country.

Women's special physical and bodily needs are different from men's and these need to be fully understood by sensitive prison officials, NCW Chairperson Vibha Parthasarthy observed at the two-day meet which concluded on Friday evening.

Disclosing that about 70 per cent of women prisoners are illiterate, 90 per cent come from rural backgrounds and 70 per cent are married, she said.

As a reasult they often fall into depression because they miss their children and families.

“They also have few visitors and often no news of their homes. The impact of this and its effect on destroying the spirit of the jailed women need urgent attention,” Ms Parthasarthy stressed.

The seminar was inaugurated by Minister of State for Home I D Swami.

He promised to take forward prison reforms where women prisoners are concerned.

Justice J S Verma, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), who was the keynote speaker, emphasised that more laws are not needed to better the lot of women prisoners. He also said what was needed was better and efficient implementation of the rules for reforming prisons.

He stressed the need for officers of the administration and citizens to act in a way that upholded the rights and dignity of women in prisons and police stations.

“We need to sensitise all agencies including police and jail authorities regarding the special needs of women,” he added.


Workshop on human rights

GUWAHATI, May 20: The Tribal Welfare Society, New Delhi is going to organize a two-day open workshop on human rights and development at Guwahati Planetarium Conference Hall on May 24 and 26, said a press release. Mr GK Pillai, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Government Officers, representative of different student organizations, woman organizations member of the panchayat, media persons, various NGOs, senior citizens etc will take part in the workshop. The workshop will start at 9 p.m., the release added.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: May 21, 2001
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