Police brutality in the Himalaya – Three years since a traumatic night of violence in Dolpo, the community still awaits justice
Dho-Tarap in Dolpo comes alive during its short-lived summer from May to July. Grey mountains acquire rich textures, the river valleys turn green, and thousands of people, both locals and those from outside, move to higher pastures in search of the precious caterpillar-fungus, yartsagumba. By collecting and selling it, a family may be able to sustain themselves for the rest of the year.
Yartsagunbu is highly prized in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its rumored ability to cure cancer, impotence, and work as a tonic and aphrodisiac. Although more popularly called “yartsagumba,” the more accurate term is yartsagunbu, which means “summer-grass winter worm” in Tibetan. A single piece – weighing, on average a third of a gram – goes for between USD 3 to USD 10 locally. By the time it gets to markets in mainland China and Hong Kong, it is sold for over five times its cost price. …MORE