September 2017 \ Interviews \ POLITICAL INTERVIEW
“Acceptance of AYUSH is becoming wider”

Soft-spoken Shripad Yasso Naik is Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Homoepathy (AYUSH). He won his Lok Sabha seat of Panaji first in 1999, and has held it ever since, winning in 2004, 2009 and 2014. He speaks to India Empire’s Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty at his Lodhi Estate residence

Among all the disciplines—that is Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddh and Homeopathy—which are catching the imagination of Indian patients faster?

My answer to your question is Ayurveda. That is because that it has had acceptance in most families through our grandparents and ancestors. As a child, I would use boiled leaves to get rid of stomach disorder. I do not remember going in for Western medication to solve the issue. In fact, we hadn’t heard of medicines like Combiflam. You see, we’ve sown the seeds of Ayurveda, and are pouring water on those seeds abundantly. Slowly, but surely, it is catching up. Remember, it is already there in our genes. Our eyes had been shut to these ancient practices for a long time because of the dominance of the Western system. But today those same eyes are opening up. The credit for making this happen goes to this BJP-led NDA Government.

BEAMING WITH CONFIDENCE: AYUSH has become a buzzword in India, and largely responsible for this is Minister Naik’s visionary approach in spreading its awareness

Is there a greater tendency among Westerners to accept and practice these forms of medicine?

Most definitely. Since the time I’ve become AYUSH Minister, we’ve had MoUs with 10-12 countries. They are keen to adopt this system. We’ve put chairs in many universities to teach those subjects. I’ve attended conferences in AYUSH disciplines in 5-6 countries. On the sidelines of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in January 2017 in Bengaluru we had a two-day conference on treatment of cancer. It was attended by 15 doctors from the USA. After the conference, they wanted to sign a MoU and wanted to carry out research. So even America is interested in AYUSH. Also, the World Health Organization and our Ministry have signed an agreement, and we’ll be represented in their programmes by an official. Similarly, there are doctors in other countries who are showing interest. Our endeavor is to spread this awareness, and encourage all those evincing interest.