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

Thanks to the initiative of the Prime Minister of India at the UNGA, Yoga today has worldwide acceptance. Can you please tell us the feedback that you receive from different nations on this discipline alone?

The Ministry of External Affairs has said that the number of people that took part in the last International Yoga Day have grown manifold from the first one. More citizens of the world have become aware of the benefits of this ancient discipline. A time will come when Western nations will outpace us in the adoption of Yoga. Our objective is to see that the world benefits from Yoga.

What steps are being taken by the Ministry to revive ancient manuscript in this area?

We have started the work on original manuscripts that were written in Sanskrit 500-600 years ago. The Ministry is playing a pivotal role and we’d want this information to live on for generations to come. The material will be available in all major Indian languages.

We now have the Sowa-Rigpa, or the Amchi system of medicine, one of the oldest, living and well-documented medical traditions in the world. Please tell us a little about this…

That is correct. We officially added Sowa-Rigpa to the AYUSH system in 2016. It won’t make a difference to the full form of AYUSH as such. There used to be an institute for Sowa-Rigpa in Ladakh. We’ve upgraded it and made it a national institution for Sowa-Ripga. Funds have been released for construction of the building. So in AYUSH we now have six disciplines, instead of five.

What kind of research has been initiated by the Government in AYUSH?

A lot has been done in the last two years. The fact of the matter is that until we focus on research, and also on infrastructure, we won’t be able to take things forward. We have 11 Ayurveda research centres, and another 85 branches across the country. We also have a national homeopathy research centre with branches all over. The IME-9 medicine for diabetes has been a revelation. It was our research that went behind it. We’ve also tied up with several research institutions overseas. We are also talking to Harvard University, and in a couple of months research will start with them as well. To spread awareness worldwide, research is key.