Sudhir Ahluwalia

The ancient medicine systems like Ayurveda look at the human body holistically. They also believe that the body interacts with the environment and is influenced by it. Each individual is different and has varying needs.

It was an observation based science. Scholars observed the interactions of people with nature and through a process of hits and misses came up with a set of rules, formulations and practices to help an individual recover from an ailment. This observation process probably began a thousand years before Sushruta and Charaka came up with their first compilations in the later half of the first millennium BC.

Some of the fundamental concepts of Ayurveda continue to be relevant today in the 21st century and therefore deserve respect. I do not subscribe to the group of people who will say that Ayurveda has no relevance today and will become completely irrelevant in the future. Nor do I fall in the diehard supporters camp.

Ayurveda will rank probably at the top in the holistic nature based sciences of the world. Currently, it has reached stasis and not evolving. Ayurveda teaching and research requires a complete overhaul.

It has to be freed from the stranglehold of people who claim to be diehard supporters and practitioners of Ayurveda. Rational scientists need to be placed at the head of Ayurveda teaching and research. Ayurveda teaching today is stuck in the 1st millennium BC. This can be done only by people who look at this great scientific heritage objectively.

If research in Ayurveda is conducted using the modern scientific tools and methodologies, Ayurveda will emerge as a great contributor to improving healthcare globally.

At the heart of the future of Ayurveda lies a complete transformation of its teaching methodology, course design and course curriculum. I am not advocating that Ayurveda teaching should copy Allopathic medicinal curricula. Ayurveda is a holistic science and needs to be dealt with as such.

If some of the suggestions above are adopted, then I see a bright future for Ayurveda. Otherwise, it will continue to languish praised to the sky by its supporters and decried by its detractors.

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