The pitfalls of blind faith are many. Ever imagined what happens when beliefs of the primitive man and his tantric rituals meet the advanced technology of the 21st-century man and his corrupt ways? If you can’t, let us help you imagine. Imagine the dried penis of Indian lizards being passed off as ancient tantric plant roots called Hatha Jodi to unsuspecting customers and selling online like hot cakes. Though it sounds unbelievable, it is nevertheless, true!
Hatha Jodi is the root of a plant considered holy and its roots are believed to bring good luck and happiness like the Laughing Buddha figurines of China. The reason the root of the fabled plant is called “Hatha Jodi” (joined hands) is it looks like a pair of hands joined in prayer. It is a root found basically in the remote regions of Nepal and India.
People with a spiritual bent of mind unquestioningly accept whatever is offered in the name of faith because spiritualism teaches not to question. Consequently, the unquestioning believer is easily duped into buying such counterfeits too! And let’s not forget – the people who were deceived in this particular case were neither the illiterate and ignorant tribal men and women of India nor the people of backward communities. The most interesting part of the story is that the customers of the Hatha Jodi root were from the UK, various parts of Europe, and the US; that is, it is the educated and advanced larger Asian diaspora that is still being duped into buying the stuff! The product is being sold in the US and the UK at attractive prices.
The international racket and fraud was busted by a joint investigative team from the UK and India. The team is associated with the London-based non-profit World Animal Protection. The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau also sprang into action after the World Animal Protection sounded the alarm, and the crackdown on the illegal Hatha-Jodi business began. World Animal Protection briefed the media about the raids conducted in several states to uncover the illegal trade. To the surprise of many, the inter-state racket turned out to be a very big one. The trade chain of Hatha Jodi has spread to most of the Indian states. Most of the Hatha Jodi traders seemed to have full knowledge of what they were doing. A statement issued by World Animal Protection said, “Monitor Lizard Hemipenis is being passed off as tantric plant roots also known as Hatha Jodi to unwitting customers via major online retailers including Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Snapdeal, and Etsy, among others.”
The illegal trade of lizard’s genitals is an issue of great concern, especially among wildlife conservation groups, because it has endangered the survival of all the four species of lizards in India. Their possession and trade is prohibited under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, as well as under the international law. India Country Director of World Animal Protection, Gajender K Sharma told reporters, “We were shocked at the sheer audacity and scale of this illegal wildlife trade”.