Benefits of art to cure Janai Khatira
The disease known as Janai Khatira is called Jankai in the Newari language. The Newars of the valley had their way of treating it. However, now it is known as Herpes Zoster or Janai khatira in Nepali. The disease is a variety of chicken pox and is characterized by the formation of painful rashes that cover the body in loops, like a sacred thread – Janai. Homoeopathic and allopathic medicines are available for their treatment.
Even in the past in the valley, a local painter was taken for the treatment of people, or the painter was invited to the house and a picture of a lion was drawn on the injured part of the patient’s body. In the belief of that time, it was believed that this lion would cure khatira. But in reality, khatira used to be cured due to the chemicals used in the paints used by the painters. At that time, they used to grind a mixture of different grasses to make the colour. This type of khatira used to be cured. Later, this painter stopped painting lions after the use of artificial materials in colours caused warts to increase rather than heal. Also, it became necessary to adopt modern treatment methods.
In terms of scientific or medicinal value, the process may cause doubt. However, a closer survey can soak the confusion to some extent. The painting of the lions is often paired with a homoeopathic paste made from cow milk, withdrawn from white sesame seeds, and a common grass (seto dubo). When applied to the rash, the salve mitigates the consuming sensation and speeds up the healing system.
Once the simahas have been painted, people trust fully in the lion’s powers to heal and their abilities to combat the virus. A well-placed placebo effect may contribute to the healing process. People may get healed precisely because they believe the lions will help them do so. As a result, They become very mindful of the painted area and keep it clean, to not smear the painted lions, in turn, keeping the rash clean.
Chitrakar is one of the few artists who has kept the ancient tradition of making his own. But, apart from Chitrakar’s devotion to the old ways, he sees something else: being able to cure Janai khatira completely, just by drawing two lions, or “simhas,” around the fire. Chitrakar only says that even today doctors themselves recommend this treatment for patients with shingles. All patients, according to Chitrakar, when painted, are cured within four days.