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  • For long, the massive enlarged thyroid glands among the Korkus tribal living in Amravati’s Melghat region have puzzled doctors.
  • Doctors would see Korkus, mainly women, with these abnormal growths, known as goiter, weighing over one to two kilograms.
  • An annual surgery camp held at a remote hospital in Chikhaldara has however changed that.
  • While goiter remains prevalent, doctors now see smaller growths in the tribe. 
  • Iodine deficiency is known as the common cause of goiter. 
  • But the staple diet of Korkus is fish, a rich source of iodine, and there is availability of iodized salt too.
  • There are genetic factors at play- as per doctors

More about korku tribes 

  • The Korku are an Adivasi ethnic group predominantly found in the Khandwa, Burhanpur, Betul and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh and adjoining areas near the Melghat Tiger Reserve of Maharashtra.
  • They speak the Korku language, which is a member of the Munda languages and is written using Devanagari. They are classified as a Scheduled Tribe by the Indian government.
  • The Korku tribe lives in small groups of huts made of grass and wood. Every household has elevated stage like structure in the front side of the house.
  • This elevated stage is used as a storage space of farm produce such as cattle feed. They socially consume liquor made from the flowers of the Mahua tree which is prepared in almost all the houses. Predominantly, a rural-based community with 97% living in rural areas, Korkus are primarily cultivators
  • Traditional representative body of the society known as ‘Korku Panchayat’ is found in many villages.
  • Headed by a chief known as Patel, other members in the Panchayat include Padihar (priest), Kotwar (Chowkidar) and ten to twelve older male members of the community known as Panch.
  • It plays a decisive role during traditional occasions mainly in festivals, marriages and intra- and inter-village conflict resolutions.

May 2024