Palanpur, Gujarat, Sep 12 (UNI) Lack of formal education has not impeded Karim Sumra, popular as Karim Chacha in his nondescript village of Virampur, from acquiring vast knowledge about medicinal plants -- a knowledge that he has used for the benefit of the people in the region.
Virampur, a tiny village located amid the Balaam-Ambaji wildlife sanctuary, is a treasure trove of medicinal plants, and Karim Chacha's quest for knowledge about these plants began when he was fifteen.
It was his father, Musabhai, who kindled the interest in Karim, who was 15 them, and he began identifying, classifying and sorting, and preserving the plants from that age.
Karim Chacha claims to have successfully treated as many as 65,000 patients, suffering from various ailments, who had approached him after spending large sums of money elsewhere without getting cured. ''The potency of herbs is so strong that they can cure any ailment,'' he says.
Karim Chacha's popularity is so great that even students from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, come to him to learn about the medicinal plants. He has gained the popularity by word of mouth as he shuns publicity in any form.
He has vowed to preserve the medicinal plants in Virampur. ''I will not leave Virampur and will do my best to preserve the medicinal plants which are the real treasure handed down from my father and forefathers,'' he says.
Karim Chacha has been honoured with a national award for fostering traditional knowledge and also an award from Ahmedabad-based ''Shrushthi''.