The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ayurveda winner at international meet

Kochi, Nov. 3: The international popularity of ayurveda in recent times is making the first World Ayurveda Congress a phenomenal success.

Hundreds from across the world have gathered for the four-day world congress, which was inaugurated by Union health minister Shatrughan Sinha on Friday.

The Centre, too, seems to be taking a fresh look at this traditional form of medicine. The government proposes to secure green industry status for various Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM), which includes Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani, Sinha said at the meet.

The minister added that efforts would be made to get fiscal incentives and tax concessions to the ISM industry within the overall taxation policy. He pointed out that the world, haunted by the toxic effects of modern medicines, is on the lookout for complementary and alternative medicine.

Over 2,000 participants have registered in the first two days of the Congress and more are expected in the next two days. About 90 leading professors and scientists from across the world will present papers at the Congress while many others have come “just to know” about this much-acclaimed tradition.

The congress consists of 7 plenary sessions and 24 parallel sessions. In all, 115 speakers will present 320 research papers on diverse aspects of traditional and indigenous healthcare practices. The issues running through the papers would include making the ancient nature-based therapeutic system more suitable to modern times, standardising herbal drugs and tightening quality control. Protocol for developing and standardisation of ethno-medicine will also be taken up.

“We will address the threat posed by the WTO patent regime to this traditional form of medicine, particularly in the context of the efforts of the MNCs to monopolise the drug industry,” said K.I. Vasu, chairperson of the organising committee.

One attraction of the meet has been the Daiva Vipasaya Yagnam, a ritual touted as a psychological treatment in ayurveda to relieve tension without using medicines. The ritual will run through the four days of the congress. A session on “yoga, mantra and tantra” was held today, where Sureshwar Sharma, member of the University Grants Commission, presented his findings on “astrodiagnosis”.

“The response from the international academic and medical community is a real barometer of the recognition that ayurveda has got over the years,” said P.N.V. Kurup, vice-chancellor of Gujarat Ayurveda University.

Gerard Bodeker from the University of Oxford, Adriana Micaela Alexandru, who runs an ayurveda clinic in Australia, Arvind Mathur, national professional officer of World Health Organisation, T.K. Govender from South Africa, S.K. Kamlesh, director of Kamlesh Ayurveda at Honolulu, Kishor Shroff, president of Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers’ Association, and Maarten Bode from the University of Amsterdam are attending the meet.

Kerala chief minister A.K. Antony attended the congress on Saturday, as did the health ministers of seven other states and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The event is witnessing a mad rush of herbal manufacturers wanting to showcase products. As many as 50 exhibitors had to return disappointed as the organisers could not find space for them at the venue. From all over India, 220 are taking part.

The Swadeshi Science Movement, the Union health ministry, the governments of Kerala, Goa, Gujarat and Karnataka, scientific and research institutions, medical practitioners and herbal manufacturers are jointly organising the meet.

At the venue, an exhibition is providing a preliminary course in ayurveda and Indians and foreigners are flocking to the camp.

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