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Ayurveda Day 2020

Ayurveda Day 2020

Launching of Activities

12 November 2020

Remarks by
High Commissioner Tanmaya Lal


Hon. Chief Whip Mrs Naveena Ramyadji

Hon. PPS Mr. Anjiv Ramdhanyji

Director of Health Services Dr. B. Ori

President of Association of Ayurvedic Physicians Dr. Radhakeesoon

Senior officials of Government of Mauritius

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

A very warm welcome to all of you.

First of all, I would like to thank the Government of Mauritius especially Ministry of Health & Wellness for this collaboration on the launching of activities in the context of the Ayurveda Day 2020. We are also grateful to the Hon. Minister of Health & Wellness Dr. Jagutpal and Hon. Minister of State for External Affairs of India Shri Muraleedharan for sharing a message with us on this occasion.

Both India and Mauritius have very active ongoing programmes relating to the use and promotion of Ayurveda as effective healing systems for their peoples.

The last several months have focused the global attention on both the short-term measures to battle the Covid-19 Pandemic and also on re-assessing the way forward in delivering of affordable and quality health care systems.

On one hand, the importance of international collaboration in developing vaccines and providing access to essential medicines and healthcare equipment has been of utmost priority. On the other hand, the role of traditional systems of medicine and healing in boosting immunity and treating ailments has also prominently come to the fore.

At a more individual level, we know that people in India and also Mauritius have greatly increased their use of Ayurvedic formulations and products during this period.

Excellencies, friends,

India is a mega biodiverse country with an extensive range of geographies, soils and climates and ecosystems.  

The role of forests, trees and plants is sustaining life has been keenly understood by people since millennia. They provide oxygen, clean the air of pollutants, house birds and animals, are source of food and other materials for human societies and also herbs and medicines. It is no surprise that a whole range of plants and trees are considered sacred and worshipped in our tradition.

Since 2016, the Dhanvantari Jayanti is being commemorated as the Ayurveda Day. This marks the emergence of Lord Dhanvantari from the Samudramanthan, who brought with him the science of Ayurveda for good health.

Ayurveda, as we all know, is an ancient plant-based healing and cure system that has stood the test of time. This traditional medicine system is our collective heritage.

It is remarkable how thousands of years ago, physicians developed this detailed knowledge of a holistic nature. It shows how our ancestors understood the inter-connectedness of life. They identified specific herbs for specific uses and also to boost general immunity and health.

The Atharva Veda dating back to more than 3000 years mentions many medicinal plants and concepts from Ayurveda. The 3000 years old texts of Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita are considered the original texts of Ayurveda. The regular teaching started with the Guru-Shishya parampara (master-disciple system). There is believed to have been a department for Ayurveda at the Takshshila University in the 7th century. 

There are extensive studies and documentation on the very large number of plants that are considered sacred in our culture and which are also known for their various medicinal properties.

In Ayurveda there is a significant focus on medicinal plants specific to a geography, climate, seasonal variations and local agriculture practices. Each individual’s physical constitution is also a fundamental aspect of clinical assessment.

Ayurvedic formulations are known for their holistic approach to treating any condition and their effectiveness in treating many ailments especially the lifestyle and non-communicable diseases.

Modern science is validating the medicinal properties of many of these herbal medicines, and this traditional knowledge has then sought to be unethically patented in some high profile instances.

In 1827, classes in Ayurvedic medicine began at Government Sanskrit College in Calcutta. A century later, a five-year degree course in Ayurvedic medicine and surgery was offered at Banaras Hindu University from 1927.

After India’s independence, non-allopathic medical systems were again sought to be revived. In 1970 the Ayurvedic formulatory was published by the Government of India. In 1999 the first Part of the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia of India was published by the Government.

In recent years, the Government of India has actively promoted these traditional medicine systems including Ayurveda, Yunani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). A separate Ministry of Ayush was established in 2014. It is estimated that there are nearly half a million Ayurveda physicians, over 15,000 Ayurveda related health facilities, 2,400 Ayurveda hospitals and several hundred Ayurveda pharmacies in India.

Another important initiative has been the setting up of a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library to protect traditional knowledge from biopiracy and unethical patenting practices as also to digitalize and document ancient texts and formulations.

In recent decades there is growing interest in Ayurveda and traditional medicine to treat the increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases, for instance diabetes or blood pressure. There is also a rapid growth in herbal pharmaceutical industry. 

The Government of India had announced clinical drug trials to evaluate the safe and effective use of selected and standardised Ayurvedic medicines in the prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19. This will bring together Ayurvedic physicians and experts of modern medicine together. The therapeutic potential of Ayurveda is being explored in this context. Ministry of Ayush had issued an advisory for use of well-known Ayurvedic formulations to improve the general immune system and health in the time of this pandemic.

In Mauritius also there is longstanding tradition of the use of Ayurvedic medicines dating back to at least 100 years and a National Ayurveda and Traditional Medicine Act came into force more than three decades ago. Ayurvedic clinics in Government Hospitals were started shortly thereafter. The Government of Mauritius also promotes the use of Ayurvedic medicines through its Traditional Medicine Board and a number of practicing Ayurvedic Doctors.

Earlier this year, two senior officials from Government of Mauritius visited India to participate in an International Conference on Ayush. We are also working on other aspects of collaboration such as Ayush scholarships. The process of recruiting an expert for the setting of an Ayush Chair in Mauritius has also advanced well in recent weeks.

We are happy that some months ago we were able to bring a substantial quantity of Ayurvedic medicines as requested by Government of Mauritius from India during the difficult times faced because of the Covid pandemic.

International support for Ayurveda continues to grow. Ayurveda Day is celebrated in more than 35 countries. More than 50 Unani and Ayurveda products have been registered in 8 countries by the Ayush Ministry.

13 MoUs have been signed with various international universities for setting up of Ayush Chairs. MoUs have also been finalized with 23 countries for cooperation in the fields of Traditional Medicine and Homoeopathy. More than 100 scholarships are offered to international students every year to pursue higher studies in Ayush systems.

I understand that around 30 countries have endorsed the inclusion of Ayurveda as Module-2 of the 26th Chapter of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), who is the global health information standard managed by World Health Organization (WHO).

In February this year, WHO and the Ayush Ministry of India signed an MoU to develop the Traditional Medicine module in the ICD-11 series. Work is ongoing on a union set of classifications covering Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani systems of medicine and WHO consultations have been initiated with Member States.

Excellencies, friends,

Tomorrow, on the occasion of the 5th Ayurveda Day, in India, Prime Minister Modi will dedicate two important institutions for growth and development of Ayurveda in the 21st century. These are the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA), Jamnagar and the National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA), Jaipur. The ITRA will now have the status of an Institution of National Importance. And NIA will now have the status of a Deemed University. These are important steps in the modernization of Ayurveda education, which is a priority area for the Government.

The utilization of the immense potential of AYUSH systems of healthcare for effective and affordable solutions for India’s public healthcare challenges remains the priority of our Government.

Here at the IGCIC, the Indian Culture Centre, a modest but significant initiative was made in June this year, by inaugurating a small Ayur Bagiya by planting some medicinal plants in its compound. The Centre has also been holding regular seminars and workshops on Ayurveda, especially with the cooperation of the Association of Ayurvedic Physicians of Mauritius.

In conclusion, may I once again thank the Government of Mauritius and look forward to continued collaboration in the field of AYUSH.

Best wishes for the festive season. For good health, peace & prosperity.

Thank you

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