Wildlife experts up in arms against the private parts of the Indian Monitor Lizard being sold by popular e-commerce websites as a 'dried plant that brings good luck' if kept in one's home
Indian Monitor Lizard
While people in the wildlife conservation community are making every effort to stop the illegal trade and sale of animal parts, the private parts of the Indian Monitor Lizard are being sold online, under the guise of a dried plant called "Hatha Jodi".
Wildlife experts told mid-day that the item by the name "Hatha Jodi" that is being sold on Flipkart is nothing but the dried penis of the lizard. MNAONLINE1931, which claims to deal in puja-related items, is selling it as "Numeroastro Hatha Jodi Showpiece". While on Snapdeal, it's being sold as "Shubh-Bhakti Hatha Jodi", it's also available on Tantraveda.org as "ORIGINAL HATHA JODI or HATA JORI". Ebay.in too has it as "Original Hatha Jodi, Hattha Jodi, Hata Jori, Hast Hathatha jodie Abhimantrit". Its price ranges from R600 to R1,400.
Dried genitals of an Indian Monitor Lizard are being sold as a rare magical plant called Hatha Jodi. Pic Courtesy/Jose Louies (IFAW/WTI)
Programme officer and member of the investigating team Prerna Panwar from Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) said, "Nowhere does it say that the thing being sold is the private part of a wild animal. It was being sold on Amazon, but after we wrote to them, they stopped. Flipkart, on the other hand, still has it up for sale."
Head of enforcement assistance and law at WTI Jose Louies and his team have been exposing this illegal trade in a bid to stop it.
Destroyer of evils
On Flipkart, the product description states: "Numeroastro Hatha Jodi-Hatha Jodi is a wonder of nature, in which two hands are joined together, as in a prayer. This should be kept in oil bath because it absorbs oil. Hatha Jori blesses the worshipper with wealth and good luck, guards against accidents and bad influences of any evil effect. It also increases the attraction power of a person, since it has the powers of 'Vashikaran' or hypnosis. It is very useful in winning favours or winning trials. (Made Of CERAMICS)" (sic).
There are some bizarre beliefs that it is a very rare plant root that brings its owner good luck, prosperity and a host of other positives. It resembles hands joined together as if in prayer.
Its supply comes from Karnataka, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, where some tribal communities consume the lizard as part of their diet.
What experts say
Louies said, "The information came to us by accident. We checked and found that there is no plant called Hatha Jodi, and that all the items titled as that online for sale are, in fact, the private parts of the Indian Monitor Lizard. These are exported in bulk too, with exporters deliberately mislabelling them as "plant product"."
"This particular lizard is protected under schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, which means it deserves the same protection as a tiger. Besides being a wildlife crime, this is a case of unsuspecting faithfuls being taken for a ride by gurus selling it, calling it a remedy for "all your problems" -- court cases, marriage on the rocks, financial constraints, etc. It's a perfect example of how one's faith is exploited by a few for money," he added.
Flipkart and Ebay did not respond to mid-day's emails for their version.
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