Ayurveda is the oldest system of medicine that has existed since the dawn of time. This highly scientific method of understanding and treating a patient is based on fixed parameters and comprehensive esoteric knowledge of this ancient science. Hindu scriptures like the Puranas and Vedas have described intricate medical processes and information about the human anatomy that is not available in any modern medical book. Germans quickly realized the true value of Hindu scriptures and learnt Sanskrit to assimilate this knowledge and translated these scriptures into German to be used by their countrymen for advanced and highly technical medical procedures.
However, as the years went by, the most scientific and ancient system of Ayurveda which requires incredible intellectual acumen to comprehend was reduced to being known as “alternative medicine” (Google Rockefeller and petroleum medicines). This slang term that is highly derogatory is considered to be a Western import and displays remnants of the prejudiced and narrow-minded thinking of the British Raj.
Other “alternative medicines” namely Homeopathy, Unani and Siddha medicine that are widely practised in the sub-urban areas, Tier – 2, Tier – 3 and villages is preferred to “English medicine” (allopathy) even today. During these unprecedented times, these four “alternative medicines” have found more followers as people have resorted to taking age-old kashayas, kadha and preparations with organic turmeric, black pepper, rock salt, ginger, ajwain and tulasi.
Whether you like Baba Ramdev or not is irrelevant – one has to acknowledge that he has played an important role in commercializing Ayurveda and Ayurvedic medicines, health awareness and yoga that is discernible in every part of India. Even Kerala which is the most distinguished centre for Ayurveda and specialized Ayurvedic treatments is amazed by the number of Patanjali outlets that have opened up across the state.
If you were to travel across the length and breadth of the country especially rural India, you will find people of all ages doing pranayama and yoga in public parks, their gardens and terraces before and at sunrise, eating fresh food rather than the store-bought food and inculcating good health practices to combat stress. Such is the faith in Baba Ramdev and his approach to health and medicine.
Why does the Indian Medical Association (IMA) have a problem with Baba Ramdev? Well in a live interview recently, the IMA President John Rose Austin Jayalal revealed in an unguarded moment that he discriminated openly between Christians and non-Christians (he is a practising Christian). Independent investigations that have now been submitted to the Home Ministry have further revealed that he has used his position to promote mass conversion to Christianity and alienate practising Hindu doctors and nurses.
Added to this, funding from the Central Government for important medical projects have been diverted to missionary work. These are serious allegations if proven true. The crux of the matter is that the IMA President is using religion and his strong religious beliefs to prevent the progressive reforms in the medical sector that the Government wants to introduce.
The ingenious National Medical Commission Bill (NMC) proposes to grant a limited license to certain mid-level practitioners connected with modern medical profession to practice medicine. This is the need of the hour as the entire healthcare system is under tremendous pressure since the Chinese virus made its way from the Wuhan lab into the world. The NMC is opposed by the IMA President because it would mean that all forms of medicine can be brought under one umbrella while the IMA President wishes only “English medicine” to be recognized as the genuine course of medicine and treatment and “alternative medicines” to be relegated to quackery.
Ongoing investigations have also revealed that the IMA which is a voluntary organization only endorses products from select companies in exchange for funds. The money trail is interesting to say the least (companies that sell oats, carbonated soft drinks, packaged juice, bulbs, hand sanitizers and soaps, water purifiers, paints and a couple of multinational consumer goods corporations to name a few).
It is very troubling that a voluntary organization (with a suspicious money trail) is interfering in the lawmaking process of the world’s largest democracy. It is also highly distressing that when the clarion call is for all hands on deck, the IMA President is indulging in ugly and unnecessary games (based on his religious inclination) to prevent a much-needed overhaul of the medical sector.
What is more baffling is how this organization has managed to receive substantial funds from both the Government of India and foreign shores and managed its endorsements without arousing the suspicion of the Government of India?
Written by Byomkesh Bakshi: Satyanweshi
*Disclaimer – Views are personal and based on data available on Government websites and not from newspapers, media outlets and TV channels.