Types of Bhanamati
This malady is of two types. In the first type, clothes get torn, or set on fire or houses get stoned or small bits of stones spill out of eyes and ears of the victim or cross marks (made by marking nuts) emerge on the body, all of a sudden, miraculously and on their own. Such occurrences become news and are widely discussed by the village folks. In fact some person does this out of desperation but intentionally. Obviously women hugely outnumber men in performing these desperate acts.
In the other type of Bhanamati the affected person starts puffing, blowing, panting and gasping or barks like a dog. The person also rolls violently and noisily on the floor. While in such stance that person reveals the name of somebody that has supposedly caused some incident detrimental to the people of that locality. The person so named becomes a suspect and is just not able to continue to live there. Moreover when one woman is so possessed many others, as if infected by her, start puffing and panting. It creates a very weird and frightening atmosphere. The rural, illiterate population of Marathwada is especially prone to become victims of this malady. At times even the educated people seem to believe in it..
In the past, diseases were rarely attributed to the physiological disorder. Many a times they were ascribed to some evil influence which was propitiated by some sacrifice. In such cases of illness the people hankered after magic and such magical practice as bhanamati. In most of the cases, the treatment was so severe that there was little hope of the survival of the patient. At present the people in the rural areas are sometimes the victims of such beliefs and ideas.
The MANS have developed an effective technique of investigating into the Bhanamati occurrences. They take care not to disclose the identity of the person/s involved in it and offer them psychological support and treatment, so that person is no more in need of continuing this bizarre behaviour. The MANS has been struggling to eradicate this menace for the last two decades, creating awareness among the public and educating people regarding its causes, remedies and also who benefits from such activities. This movement coupled with the humane treatment given to the victims by the MANS workers has reduced the occurrence of this phenomenon considerably. MANS will continue its agitation till it is completely eradicated from the society, of course with the co-operation of all concerned.