What’s in a name? A lot, when it comes to propagation of traditional branches of medicine by the government, as the Lok Sabha Friday saw MPs making demands to alter the name of the newly formed AYUSH ministry.
AYUSH, an acronym for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy, could do with a change of name to include more traditional schools of medicine prevalent in India for “thousands of years”, two MPs, from Andhra Pradesh and Ladakh, demanded in Lok Sabha during Question Hour before Shripad Naik, who heads the new ministry.
Rising to ask a question, TDP MP Ravindra Babu demanded that an extra ‘A’ be added to the name to make it AAYUSH to recognise acupuncture.
“There is an Indian acupuncture medical system wherein there is no administration of any medicine; there are no side effects… It is relieving a lot of small ailments like backache, sciatica, cervical pain,” he said.
“I already made a request to the minister to include acupuncture as part of AYUSH, so that it will become AAYUSH. I would request the hon. minister, through you, Madam (Speaker), to include acupuncture in AYUSH so that our native medicines get encouragement in the international arena,” he said, drawing laughter from both sides of the political divide.
Babu claimed that acupuncture was invented in India and adopted by China. “It has already gone to China; it has become very popular. Please include acupuncture also in AYUSH,” he added, as a few MPs backed him.
Naik replied that his ministry would consider the matter. “A lot of ‘pathies’ seek our recognition,” he said.
For Thupstan Chhewang, BJP MP from Ladakh, the name AYUSH should have an extra ‘S’, as in “AYUSSH”, to encourage Sowa-Rigpa, the traditional Tibetan medicine practiced, according to Chhewang, in Ladakh and other Himalayan areas. “The ministry has not done anything to encourage it. One way is to add an ‘S’ to the name and also make a university for its research,” he said.
Steering clear of assuring that his ministry’s name would be tweaked, Naik said the work to recognise Sowa-Rigpa has “progressed a lot”. “I can say that it will get recognition and then, wherever it is in vogue, the government will encourage it,” he said.