Speaker: Dr. J. L. N Sastry, CEO, National Medicinal Plants Board, Head - healthcare research, Dabur (2012-20)
Facilitator: Mandira Popat, Digital entrepreneur
Compiled by: Sudhanshu Shekhar
Date: 16th May 2020
The spurt of coronavirus disease has generated a global health crisis that is having a deep influence on the way we comprehend our world and our everyday lives. It’s not only the rate of contagion and patterns of transmission that threatens our feeling of agency, but the safety measures put in place to include the spread of the virus also expect social distancing by abstaining from doing what is naturally human, which is to find relief in the company of others. Innovation and opportunities in a traditional knowledge sector, such as Ayurveda, ought to be conceived from a very different viewpoint from that of the traditional science/technology sector. The discussion had the wit and intellect of Dr. Sastry induced in it while he was giving his holistic views on current topics of concern.
Ms. Mandira initiated the conversation by questioning Dr. Sastry about how the new shape and responsibilities have been given to the Ayush ministry in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. The speaker, to this, began by describing this particular time as a time for introspection and not a time of complete crisis. He believes in the concept of positivity and generally looks at the positive side of things.
Obviously, history is going to be in 2 parts now- pre-COVID-19 and post Covid-19. It’s not the World War but the Covid-19 that will create new history. Now, one common question which comes to everyone’s mind is how to reduce the impact of this pandemic. Dr. Sastry believes that our country has something in it, which is different from others(maybe because of the traditional recipe). Life did not stop and should not stop. A major challenge relates to the uplifting of the economy again. We all have to take collective measures for that.
Now, talking about villages, if avenues and revenues are created in villages to assist villagers, it would be the best thing that can be done for them. Now, post-COVID-19, maybe we can see an Ayush economy to drive our nation. Dr. Sastry strongly believes it. He reasoned it by citing an example. Herbs like Ashvagandha, Giloy, Tulsi are the real traditions of our country. In earlier times, everyone was equipped with the knowledge of the benefits of these herbs and naturally made substances. We were trained in it. Dr. Sastry believes that we have to bring the culture back again and should implement it from ground level. He then gave examples of how Ayurveda helped the society in tackling any disaster or calamity that came in the past. The fact is that we have to slowly shift from the current system. The speaker himself doesn’t take any medicine. So it’s all about the mindset and lifestyle. The government and officials are emphasizing this matter and are very committed to it. It’s only a matter of public commitment now.
He then gave the fact that the demand for these herbal products has increased in foreign countries. They have witnessed the positives of such products. It’s the Indians who are yet to touch upon the surface of herbs and Ayurveda. Why aren’t we respecting traditional science? Though the speaker admitted the fact that we are also gradually coming back to our traditional methods. This is because even though our population is more than 4 times the population of the USA, then the number of cases is lesser as compared to their cases. Now there has been the establishment of the interdisciplinary task force and this task force has made about 7 different working routes, and under the working routes, they have created public health guidelines which were already there. There are practitioner guidelines and generic guidelines too under each system.
Now, there are some grey areas that need to be handed over to the indigenous systems, and there are particular conditions where indigenous systems would definitely help. Having said that, vague statements like they would kill the virus should be ignored. Mr. Sastry feels that the situation is still controllable with proper safety measures taken. There is a mantra in which the speaker firmly believes. So this is a time when there is no vaccine, and one simple way is to protect your vulnerable roop in this. Dr. Sasty would have done evaluation because people have started saying it affects the elderly. At the same time, no two persons will have the same opinion.
Dr. Sastry then talked about Women’s Health, that too particularly in the rural sector. They are planning to bring back women’s health in the upcoming programs. There are some methods which once cultivated, will help in inculcating in them. Wealth along with health is the package that the speaker is looking for.
One question which came up was related to Chyavanprash and the research being done on it, and moreover, what are we doing to promote it. To this, our guest said that Chyavanprash is something to which he personally is very attached. People across the country consume Chyawanprash from the mid of October till March. All the ingredients of Chyawanprash have a healing property. He also gave several data facts related to Chyavanprash. He thinks that there is a positive impact created through it.
The down-to-earth nature of Dr. Sasty could be easily figured out by anyone in this conversation. He believes in using the traditional methods and Ayurveda, but at the same time, does not completely oppose the idea of new methods. He ended the conversation by claiming that the world is full of opportunities, it’s just that we need to grab them. He left the audience with great learnings and positivity.
Key highlights of the Session:
- This is the time for introspection and not a time of complete crisis. Believe in the concept of positivity and look at the positive side of things.
- History is going to be in 2 parts now- pre-COVID-19 and post-Covid-19. It’s not the World War but the Covid-19 that will create new history.
- In earlier times, everyone was equipped with the knowledge of the benefits of these herbs and naturally made substances. They were trained in it. We have to bring the culture back again and should implement it from ground level.
- Demand for the herbal products has increased in foreign countries. They have witnessed the positives of such products. It’s the Indians who are yet to touch upon the surface of herbs and Ayurveda.
- People across the country consume Chyawanprash from the mid of October till March. All the ingredients of Chyawanprash have a healing property.
- Traditional methods and Ayurveda are the go to things to implement now.