Āyurvedā, the primeval Indian holistic medical science, practiced since centuries, deals with body, mind and spirit of humans with an aim to preserve and promote health of an individual along with the prevention and or cure of diseases. It endows with the measures for a disciplined and disease-free, long life.
In Āyurvedic clinical examination Deśa parikṣa is mentioned. Āyurvedic texts have given importance to Deśa parikṣa while interrogating with patient. Deśa means Bhūmī Deśa (land) and Ātur Deśa (patient body). Bhūmī Deśa is the land where person lives. Person’s prakruti (constitution), Bala (strength) depends on Deśa.[2,3] So it is necessary for an Āyurvedic physician to ask where the person born? , where he grownup? During stay in which area he felt ill? etc. According to Caraka, area wise people follow different religions, traditions, dietary habits. Work culture also differs according to the area wherein the person lives. Availability of food and medicinal herbs also differ in different regions. Diseases also differ region to region. In Āyurvedic classics, Brihat trayi i.e. Carak Saṃhitā, Sushruta Saṃhitā, and Aṣtāng hriday one may find scattered description about Deśa. As Āyurvedic Saṃhitās are written by people living in Indian continent, description of Deśa represents the climate of same only. Temperature, rainfall, type of soil, availability of water and natural resources are different in different area. Mahārāṣtrā state is divided in Konkan region, Ghāt area, Khāndeśa, Marāṭhawāḍā and Vidarbha. Though Mahārāṣtrā is one state; there is variation in geography of these areas, therefore there is variation in climatic conditions. This article deals only about Marāṭhawāḍā region of Mahārāṣtrā state of India; as the authors are living and dealing with patients of this region and at present they are much more familiar to environment of this area. For the study purpose, four representative districts of Marāṭhawāḍā viz. Bīd, Osmānābād, Lātur and Nāndeḍ were chosen. During graduation studies i.e. B.A.M.S. students of Āyurvedā learn Marāṭhawāḍā as Sādhāraṇa Deśa. But after considering the geographical and climatic conditions of this region, the question arises whether Marāṭhawāḍā should be called as Sādhāraṇa Deśa or not? Concepts regarding Deśa, available in various classical texts like Caraka Saṃhitā, Sushruta Saṃhitā, Aṣtānga Hridaya and other Nighanṭu were thoroughly reviewed. Published literature on Bhūmī Deśa by scholars in various national & international indexed journals including Central Database of PubMed was reviewed. To discern the comprehensive, accurate, reliable and one-stop source for the information and present climatic situation about the major districts considered in this study from Marāṭhawāḍā region; authentic government web portals of those districts were visited and required information was extracted. Records procured from the classics and the various sources were critically reassessed to co-relate the type of Deśa explained in classics and present scenario in the districts considered for the study.
CONCEPT OF DEŚA IN ĀYURVEDĀ
Types of Deśa
Classical literature of Āyurvedā categorizes Deśa (regions) in three major types as Jāngal, Ānup and Sādhāraṇa Deśa.
In Jāngal Deśa land is parched with few rainfall, ground water level is low, wells are deep with less water. The soil is dry with full of uneven hard granites and rock-strewn. Trees are scattered and less. Thorny bushes and grass found along with the plants such as Emblica officinalis (Āmalaki), Ziziphus nummularia (Ber), Ficus religiosa (Pipal), Ficus benghalensi (vāta), Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) tree, Prosposis cineria (shami tree) etc. Dry and hot winds flows speedily. Due to enormously dry condition of the soil and parched environment, there is a predominance of Agni. Jāngal Deśa is considered as Vāta, Pitta predominant area. Therefore Vāyu and Prithvi Mahābhūtās in turn produce plants containing prevalence Kashaya, Kaṭu and Tikta Rasa. Generally people of these area are thin built but strong and stout and prone to have diseases of Vāta and Pitta predominance.[5,6]
In such areas rainfall is heavy. Ground water level is abundant. Wells and ponds have abundant water. This area is nearby sea or surrounded by lakes and rivers with deep forests. Banana, coconut, Palm trees are found in Ānup Deśa with frequent cold winds. The surrounding atmosphere is humid. The Ānup land is green grassy and has bunches of thin plants such as Nala, Kumuda and Vetasa. Due to the moist and humid scenery of soil and influence of Prithvi and Āpa Bhūthas the plants from Ānup area are predominant in Madhur and Amla Rasa. People are well nourished but tender (Sukumar) and soft and Kapha Vāta predominant. They have tendency of Kapha Vāta predominant diseases.[5,7]
Area shows character of both Jāngal and Ānup Deśa is called as Sādhāraṇa Deśa and have mixed picture. It holds the moderate land where the soil is gray, red or black in colour and the place is neither too humid nor too parched; neither has it had cornucopia of rock particles or sand not the lakes and rivers. Sādhāraṇa Deśa is productive nourishing all kinds of plants and crops. Physiologically the Doṣa is generally maintained in a balanced state and the same is reflected in the health of inhabitants.
Geography of Marāṭhawāḍā
Marāṭhawāḍā is a southern part of Mahārāṣtrā state (Fig. 1). It consists of 8 districts: Aurangābād, Parabhaṇi, Lātur, Nāndeḍ, Jālana, Beed, Hingoli and Osmānābād. In the year 2016, the region experienced largest rainfall deficit in the past 10 years at - 42%. In two districts it was much more than 40%, leading to a severe water crisis.
Osmānābād district is located on east side of Marāṭhawāḍā region of Mahārāṣtrā state, within North latitude 17.35 to 18.40 degree and east latitude 75.16 to 76.40 degree (Fig. 2). It lays on Deccan plateau, situated 600- 653 meter above sea level. It is surrounded by Bālāghāṭa Mountain with rocky traits. The climate of Osmānābād district is generally dry and arid. Temperature in summer is 40-45 centigrade. Bhum, Paranda, Wāshi and Kalamb areas are draught prone having very scarce rainfall. The average rainfall of this Osmānābād district is 765.5 mm. Vegetation mostly comprises grasses with a few scattered trees due to less rainfall.
The Lātur District is in the south-eastern region of Marāṭhawāḍā in Mahārāṣtrā state. The town is situated on the 18.7° latitude and 73.25° longitude (Fig. 3). Lātur is having minimal rainfall due to being situated in rain shadow area. Trees are scattered and mostly grasses are there. It is a draught prone area. Average rainfall is 725 mm. Climate is hot and semiarid. Elevation is 540-638 m above sea level. The District is situated on Bālāghāṭa plateau.
Beed is having semiarid hot and dry climate. Rainfall is less. Average rainfall is 734mm. It is situated in Deccan plateau of Bālāghāṭa mountain (Fig. 4). North part of river basin is 1200 to 1500 feet high from sea level and south hilly part is 2000 to 2200feet high from sea level. Most of the Mājalgaon and Gevarai tahasil area is situated in Godavari river basin due to which soil is very fertile there. Mājalgaon and Gevarai have good rainfall compared to other tahasils of Beed. Some parts of Beed district is situated in hilly area and has very less rainfall e.g. Āṣṭi, Parali, Pāṭodā, Dhārur. Average rainfall is scarce and not timely hence many times there is draught like condition in maximum parts of Beed district.
Nāndeḍ district is spread between north latitude 18,016' to 19,555' and longitude 760 to 5500' to 78019' (Fig. 5). It is situated in the middle of the middle part of the state of Mahārāṣtrā, in the middle of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, and in the middle of the land of Bhārat. Nāndeḍ is situated in the central part of Godavari river basin. Land is very fertile in the Godāvari valley. It is situated in the Deccan plateau. District is divided in hilly region (1.36%), table land (77.60%), and river coastal area (20.83%). Average rainfall is higher compared to other districts of Marāṭhawāḍā. The district’s climate is generally dry except for the southwest monsoon season.
Considering description of above 4 districts of Marāṭhawāḍā all of them come under hot semiarid climate (BSh class) according to Koppen classification. According to Koeppen classification method which is worldwide accepted, this type of climate is called as steppe/ semiarid climate i.e. intermediate between desert climate and humid climate. Steppe/ semiarid climate is defined as climate of region that receives precipitation below evapotranspiration but not extremely.
Most of the Marāṭhawāḍā is draught prone except some parts of Nāndeḍ District. Average rainfall is less and not timely. The report of India Mateorological department shows that average rainfall of Marāṭhawāḍā region was deficit in -20% to -59% (Fig. 6). There is no distinct forest in Marāṭhawāḍā. Trees are scattered. Grass land is abundant. Small thorny bushes found everywhere. Summers are hot and winters are also not so cool. Ground water is deep. Most of the agriculture is dependable up on monsoon rainfall. Jowār, Bājrā, Pulses are the traditional crops of Marāṭhawāḍā.
People of Marāṭhawāḍā are of Medium to thin built, Medium stature, coarse dry hairs and Skin. Skin color is wheatish to Blakish. But people are hard worker and can tolerate strenuous work. Traditional diet of Marāṭhawāḍā was also very simple. Jowar, Bajra roti (Bhakari), pulses in the forms of Dāl (varan), Zunka, Pithle etc. Onion, very few varieties vegetables, sunflower oil for cooking.
This all description favors Marāṭhawāḍā as a Jāngal Deśa. For Healthy living (Swasthavritta), people should follow Deśaviparit āhar i.e. diet opposite to qualities of habitat. As environment of Marāṭhawāḍā is Vāta Pitta predominant one should follow Vāta Pitta pacifying diet.
Present climatic situations of the districts included in the study shows that most of the territory from Marāṭhawāḍā region of Mahārāṣtrā state is dry as it plunges under deficit rainfall area. The flora and fauna of this region usually occurs in dry paddock. Therefore the districts included in present study i.e. Beed, Osmānābād, Lāturand Nāndeḍ should be categorized as Jāngal Deśa. As these 4 districts are representatives of Marāṭhawāḍā and holds most of the region; the province of Marāṭhawāḍā area should also be considered as Jāngal Deśa. Further studies should be designed to precise and authenticate the findings of this work.