TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE IN INDIA

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A PANEL DISCUSSION:

A PANEL DISCUSSION INDIA - A GOLD MINE OF HEALTH PRACTICES PANELLISTS – Dr. P.L.T. Girija, Ayurvedic physician, Sanjeevini Ayurveda Yoga Centre, Chennai Dr. Uma Krishnaswamy, surgeon, Apollo Hospital, Chennai Dr. Hari John, international Health Consultant, Chennai Dr. T. Tirunarayan, Siddha physician Sheela Rani Chunkath, I.A.S., Commissioner of Maternal and Child Health, Government of Tamil Nadu Mr. A. V. Balasubramanian, Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems, Chennai Ms. R. Krithika, The Hindu Dr. Harish Narain Das, Sociologist, University of Delhi

BALASUBRAMANYAN:

BALASUBRAMANYAN OPENING SPEECH * Our health traditions are rich and diverse. *They are effective in the treatment of various diseases and disorders. * But we are not making use of them . * People think that they are unscientific. *Most of them think there is a need for validation of ayurvedic drugs. *Even modern doctors are indifferent to traditional medicine. * So our traditional health programmes are on the decline . *We must think of propagating traditional medicine.

GIRIJA:

GIRIJA Ayurveda is based on rational methods as suggested in Nyayasasthra. So it is scientific. People have been using traditional methods for many centuries. So there is no need of validation. The demand for validation using theories of modern science is absurd because these theories are unstable and constantly changing. Modern medicines are found ineffective in many cases. Moreover they have side effects too. So there is a need for holistic approach in treatment. Modern doctors in India must study about the traditional health practices and use them to treat health disorders. Therefore they must do researches on the effect of herbal medicines. But the scientists are not trying to make use of this knowledge for the improvement of people’s health. Instead we take patents and make a quick buck.

HARI JOHN:

HARI JOHN Modern medicine is not holistic. So we must use alternative systems of medicine. Therefore we must do researches on traditional or tribal medicine. These researches must be strictly monitored. Otherwise some one greedy will take the patent and the medicines manufactured will be costly. Patenting of neem and turmeric is an example. This is the negative effect of globalisation and commercialism. The medicines we make using this knowledge must be cheap and accessible to common man.

SHEELA:

SHEELA State goverments in India have begun using traditional methods in combination with Ayurveda. The TN Govt.has given training to nurses in Sidha and Ayurvedic methods and local health practices. Agrees with Girija. There is no need for validating Ayurveda because …….. People have been using it for more than three thousand years.

UMA:

UMA Agrees with Girija.There is no need for Validaton because …….. Ayurveda has its own methods of validation. It is a science. The public in India must know this fact.So…. Traditional practitioners must form an organisation and propagate the importance of our traditional health practices.

SHEELA:

SHEELA VALIDATION IS NOT A PROBLEM.BUT… STANDARDISATION IS A PROBLEM. DIFFERENT MANUFACTURERS MAKE THE SAME DRUG IN DIFFERENT WAYS. THERE IS NO WAY TO ENSURE THE STANDARD OF AYURVEDIC MEDICINES.

TIRUNARAYAN.:

TIRUNARAYAN. Lifestyles have changed. Pollution has its effects. So some traditional medicines have become ineffective. Hence some modifications are needed in preparing medicines and using them.

SHEELA:

SHEELA VALIDATION USING MODERN SCIENCE IS AN EXPENSIVE PROCESS. ONLY INTERNATIONAL MONOPOLIES CAN INVEST THE FUND NEEDED FOR VALIDATION.

UMA:

UMA AGREES WITH SHEELA . COMMERCIALISM IS BEHIND THE DEMAND FOR VALIDATION. WE ARE SURE THAT AYURVEDIC DRUGS ARE EFFECTIVE. OIL BATH IS AN EXAMPLE.IT IS GOOD FOR HEALTH.

SHEELA:

SHEELA But there is a need for publicising the fact that…. Ayurvedic practices (like oil bath) are good and effective. Some health workers are still doubtful about the success of these practices.

UMA:

UMA Some traditional practices are really harmful or unscientific. We need not practise everything given in the textbooks.

THIRUNARAYAN:

THIRUNARAYAN SOMETIMES TRADITIONAL MEDICINES ARE NOT PREPARED STRICTLY ADHERING TO THE PRINCIPLES We must adhere to the principles of ayurveda while preparing traditional medicines. They must have the required standard. So we must promote the principles of ayurveda

GIRIJA:

GIRIJA WE MUST BE CAREFUL IN DEALING WITH AYURVEDIC TERMS. WE CAN’T EXPLAIN THE FAILURE OF CERTAIN MEDICINES IN CERTAIN PEOPLE UNLESS THE PUBLIC ARE FAMILIARISED WITH AYURVEDIC TERMS.

BALU:

BALU The public must be familiarised with ayurvedic terms and concepts. Otherwise they will misunderstand the doctor’s suggestions.

SHEELA:

SHEELA Therefore we must begin teaching about our traditional health practices at schools in India. Or …. We need to make these concepts part of our school curriculum.

BALU – CONCLUSION.:

BALU – CONCLUSION. There is a need to initiate action at various levels. Our health traditions need to be strengthened and propagated. These practices are scientific,valid and effective. We must find a way to standardise traditional drugs or raw-materials . The principles underlying traditional practices need to be modified and adapted to suit the current lifestyle and situation. We must ensure that our interventions primarily benefit the local communities who are carriers of these traditions and not just researchers or intermediaries from outside. Above all we need to educate the younger generation - not merely introduce them to this knowledge but also … Install in them certain confidence and pride in these traditions.

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