India’s Soft Power of Ayurveda to the healing rescue of the World
Ayurveda – along with other traditional forms of medicine in India – has received a tremendous boost since the beginning of 2014 when Shri NarendraModiji took charge as the Prime Minister of India. It was a conscious decision at the behest of PM Modi to reinvigorate our rich heritage & enable one of the oldest medicinal practices of humanity – Ayurveda – for the benefit of humanity. The potential of Ayurveda and its time tested potential has an immense potential to heal malaises & supplement modern medicinal practices. Together, this combination of traditional & modern medicinal practice can work as a magic capsule for excellent patient care with an all round healing of mind & body.
The efforts made by the Modi government since has significantly enhanced the potential market for the Indian Ayush products to reach an astounding US$ 23 billion by 2023. However, it must be underlined that this is only the beginning of how much Ayurveda can contribute towards revamping the healthcare system globally and, together with the modern medicinal practices, bring in the much needed holistic approach of treating and boosting their health & mind.
The world is changing as many developed countries are now facing what has been known as constrictive population pyramids. This means the number of old people is increasingly outnumbering the younger population as the rate of birth continues to fall drastically. India, on the other hand, has a huge young population which is an immense opportunity.
By empowering our youth through an ecosystem which is a right mix of policy, education & incubation, we can enable our local solutions to solve global problems. As an elected representative of the people as well as a member of the Indian government, it is our duty to create avenues that create employment opportunities and enable our youths to become part of a sustainable solution to global woes. Thanks to the steps taken by the Modi government, we can now realise this opportunity by way of energising our rich heritage of Ayurveda to make the world a better & healthier place.
While Yoga has already been making people live a better life, the Ayurveda is poised to provide the world a holistic healthcare solution for both body and mind with the help of the youth of India who is ready to learn, train, practice and help the world achieve the ultimate aim of a holistic healthcare – as envisioned by PM Modi.
In order to make Ayurveda amply effective towards creating efficient and holistic health solutions for people to achieve an enriched way of life, it is important that the modern day health issues as well as challenges are factored in while formulating solutions. For example, our changing working style or the evolving social scenarios, the mankind is facing one of gravest crises due to the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of the people. While the new viruses are coming back to attack human health time & again, the diseases resulting from sedentary lifestyle is becoming a major cause for poorer quality of lives and an alarming reason of increasing loss of life. To prepare for this, as well as ensure that a launch pad is crafted through adequate policies, the government under the dynamic leadership of PM Narendra Modiji has clearly outlined a model healthcare solution where prevention of diseases, preservation of good health & curing people of diseases act as the main pillars. The New Health Policy, 2017 and the New Education Policy, 2020 are reflections of that vision towards building a nation with resilience to diseases and with focus on ‘healthcare’ as a way of life.
The new approach towards healthcare is a holistic one – where the focus is on preservation of good health & maintenance of it to develop a healthy society. This is based on evidence based knowledge – the soft power of Indian civilisation via Ayurveda – which will be used & acted upon by communities, families & individuals in order to build a healthy society.
New India’s New Health Objective for the world
Under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, the global health objective has become ‘healthy, long & fulfilling life for all’ from ‘health for all.’ Among all the medicinal practices, the innate distinction of Ayurveda to achieve this objective is truly unique. By practising Ayurveda, one can achieve good health from its evidence based curative techniques & medicines, and yet again, boost up the human body’s resilience to ward off diseases which helps keep the physical & spiritual health of the person happy & content.
In order to achieve this, we must enable our resources by making relevant upgrades in the content of the education, building a culture empowered by a collective will of the society to bring in behavioural changes among people. While the training of human resources is a fundamental requirement, the science of Ayurveda must also incorporate the strength of modern medicinal practice into its treatment procedures. Many other issues like medicines, access to quality medicine, building necessary infrastructure etc are equally important that must be approached from both legal as well as practical points of view. It is important that the education, research, scientific investigation as well as its propagation of Ayurveda must be done as per a rational and scientific evaluation process. This is critical for the success of Ayurveda to reach wider audience across the world.
Role of India to make Ayurveda become the healing touch of the world
Ayurveda is an Indian science which makes it our primary responsibility to enable & empower this wonderful heritage of ours in a way that will celebrate, cure & enrich the quality of human lives across the world.
A major step towards this end was achieved when the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) was announced to be set up at Jamnagar in Gujarat. This is a huge boost to the Ayush movement that got a fresh lease of life under PM Modi. During the opening ceremony, PM Modi clearly emphasised on the need to adapt the powerful practices of traditional medicinal practices to supplement modern healthcare in order to achieve an objective of holistic health. The GCTM, while focusing on collecting health information, undertaking research, and supporting regulation of traditional medicine in the UN member states, will also focus on sustainability and ensuring equitable benefits to knowledge bearers of traditional knowledge on health.
Other initiatives such as ‘Heal in India’ and ‘Heal by India’ bear testimony to India’s commitment to that responsibility. While the ‘Heal in India’ programme will bring the world to India to seek its expertise and knowledge in Ayurveda & Yoga, ‘Heal by India’ will allow the Indian knowledge systems on health to spread its wings & cover the world in its soothing shadow of lived, experiential, evidence-based healthcare knowledge.
As India organises the 9th World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo (December 8 to 11, 2022 at Panaji, Goa.), this is our opportunity as a country to showcase Ayurveda and how steps are being taken to enable this wonder of Indian heritage to reach its true potential in contemporary times. At this congregation, hundreds of healthcare professionals & experts of traditional medicinal practices from 53 countries across the world would be attending and participating to gain first hand knowledge of Ayurveda.
As PM Modi addresses the valedictory session of this gala meet, this becomes the single largest platform for all the experts to learn from the best about boons & benefits of Ayurveda. This will not only create an enabling Environment of learning and sharing for the larger benefit of the people but it will also be testament to the immense potential that Ayurveda holds as a Soft Power capable of building a bulwark against malaises and building a holistic healthcare system.
(The writer is the Union Minister of Ayush and Ports, Shipping & Waterways)