She lives in a small hut with a palm leaves roof in a tribal settlement, deep in the forest of Kallar in Thiruvananthapuram district. Lakshmikutty, a 75-year-old tribal woman is a poet, poison healer and teacher at Kerala Folklore Academy. With medicinal herbs and plants surrounding her small hut, hundreds trek to the forests to visit Lakshmikutty, who offers herbal treatment for poisoning. But it’s not only medicine that she has to offer but she also helps calm those affected with her gentle words, which can last for hours.
Just last week, Lakshmikutty Amma received India’s 4th-highest civilian honor, the Padma Shri Award.
She used her turn in the limelight to call on the government to help local conditions: “There is no road to my home. It was approved in 1952, but the work hasn’t started till now… We have to travel many kilometres through the forest. There are wild animals including elephants. People cannot bring patients in time. Hence, I request the government to do something about it.”