Warkari pushed to the limits by long processions
Due to poor quality food and water being doled out many pilgrims are ailing from allergies and infections; doctors say that most of them are suffering from osteoarthritis and reaction to food colour
Doctors of Adhar Social Foundation, an NGO that aids warkaris (pilgrims) medically, said that most of the pilgrims suffer from osteoarthritis and food-related problems like vomiting, loose motions and allergies. This year over 1,500 warkaris were provided medical help by Adhar Social Foundation through four centres in the city.
Most of the pilgrims are involved in laborious professions like farming and hence have problems in their joints. Dr Ravindrakumar Katkar said, “Most of them have osteoarthritis as they are often engaged in laborious work.
Also they have been walking a long distance for the Palkhi so pain pops up.” Several also suffer from stomach-related problems. “Many people offer food to them which includes fruits, vada pav, bhel, biscuits, tea, milk etc. They end up suffering from vomiting, loose motions, cramps in the abdominal area and stomach problems. Water quality also plays a role in the illnesses,” said Katkar.
The wari takes place in monsoon so many pilgrims also suffer from tinea pedis (ringworm diseases). Dr Milind Bhoi said, “As these workers do difficult work and the environment is more pollution free so they have great immunity but small problems like cough, fever due to change in weather can be seen in older people. Small children also suffer from these things. Many people also seen suffer from allergies due to colour used in food. “Colours in food lead to rashes and allergies,” Katkar added.
“Due to uncertainty
regarding the medical facility in villages they will visit during the procession many people ask for more common medicines like painkillers, medicines for common cold, cough etc,” Bhoi added.