FOR A PRETTY LONG TIME THE INCIDENCE OF DISEASES WAS ASCRIB- ED TO EVIL INFLUENCES. Propitiating the evil spirit was taken to be one of the ways of curing a disease. It was not that no form of medical help was available. The vaidus, the village priest. the old people, the vaidyas and hakims often treated the patients by the use of herbs and indigenous antidotes. The skill of the vaidyas. whose treatment was based upon the ayurvedic system of medicine, was a combination of the inherited knowledge and the practical experience. The line of treatment did not differ much in case of the vaidyas and the hakims. Both had a limited knowledge of anatomy.

The vaidus who moved from place to place had a good knowledge of rare herbs with rich mineral and medicinal properties. They mainly used to treat domestic animals in the absence of specialised veterinary practitioners. Though the maternity facilities were conspicuous by their absence, the advice of the elderly ladies in the family was always at the disposal of the expectant mothers.