European Parliament Celebrates Ayurveda Day for the first time

Ayurveda Day was celebrated for the first time in European Parliament, Brussles on 21st November 2018. The discussions and celebrations were hosted by British Conservative MEP(Member of European Parliament), Geoffrey VAN ORDEN MBE, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with India and Gaitri Issar Kumar, Ambassador of India to the Belgium and the EU (European Union) and guided by Amarjeet-Singh Bharma, from the UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Indian Traditional Sciences. The Ayurveda Day has been celebrated in the British Parliament regularly since the formation of the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences.

Alojz Peterle, MEP and former Prime Minister of Slovenia, welcomed the first celebration of Ayurveda Day in the European Parliament by stressing that traditional sciences are not less scientific than modern science and needs to be given its due respect. He suggested that in India, western medicine should be the alternative or complementary modality and Ayurveda the mainstay. Peterle ended his talk with a reminder that it is not natural or traditional medicine that is the alternative treatment, the alternative treatment is pharmaceutical.

Jo Leinen, German politician and MEP from Germany spoke expressively on Ayurveda as a preventive medicine which keeps all healthy. He said that, since western healthcare systems are focussed on disease a preventive system is very welcome. He finally thanked and agreed to support the work of Amarjeet S Bharma of the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences and his international efforts to protect and promote the Ayurveda system of medicine.

The host, Van Orden, said: “We have much to learn from Ayurveda as a way to prevent disease and to deal with chronic illnesses. I feel sure we would all benefit if Ayurveda was better understood and appreciated in the West. Among the challenges are the need for improved methods of verification of the benefits of Ayurveda and for certification and professional accreditation of practitioners.” He also read a petition that will be launched shortly. The petition is to gather one million signatures for the European Parliament to review and debate Ayurveda and Traditional Medicines.

In her talk, Gaitri Kumar stressed on the essential role that Ayurveda played in the lives of Indian citizens on a daily basis. She said that, from kitchen to the medicine cupboard, Ayurveda was used daily. She also reiterated AYUSH’s commitment to poly medicines. She stressed that patients require choice and should not just be limited to western medicine. The Indian Ambassador also said that it was both fantastic and inspiring to see the congregation of such an amazing gathering all passionately speaking about what interests them the most.

Prof. Madan Thangavelu from Cambridge stated that this well- attended event was a show of strength for the Ayurvedic cause. On behalf of the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences, he made a presentation of a joint statement between EU and India regarding moving Indian Traditional Sciences forward.

Tony Nader, the head of the worldwide Maharishi organisation, via Skype, offered similar direction to Leinen and stressed that Ayurveda was a preventive and personalised mode of treatment. He said that people’s physiology differed and Ayurveda addressed this issue. According to him, Ayurvedic techniques are so simple that it can be easily assimilated into everyday life and is considered as kitchen medicine.

Geeta Pillai from World Health Organisation’s Traditional medicines Committee reiterated the message of the importance of Traditional Medical Systems. He said that, all the work that has been done by WHO is geared towards promoting an essential preventive healthcare method. He added that the WHO does not distinguish between traditional and complementary medicine. They are looking for what works. The WHO is focussed on patient centred medicine.

Prof. Dr. Venkata Joshi, principal lecturer at the College of Ayurveda, UK, spoke on the theme of the gathering – Ayurveda for Public Health. He said that Ayurveda is steeped in individualised medicine and brings stability to the being. He discussed physiology from an Ayurvedic perspective and stressed on how this system addressed all aspects of the human being – from physiology to psychology.

Ragasudha Vinjamuri, a renowned Bharathanatyam dancer, explained the legendary cultural dance origin of Lord Dhanvantari (father of Ayurveda) through her dance movement.

Amarjeet S Bharma gifted of a sculpture of Hanuman to the European Parliament on behalf of Bhartidevi Kantaria, daughter of Pujya Rambaba. Gift bags containing Ayurvedic products were distributed to all present. These were donated by  Gudrun Buchzik of Maharishi Europe Netherlands and Gayatri Puranik of Aashwamedh, Germany.

The event ended with Amarjeet S Bharma calling for a high-powered committee to convene an operational structure to progress the contributions, findings and recommendations made by the high-ranking experts that congregated together for the event in support of Ayurveda. He said that the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences is looking forward to coordinate the next meeting early next year.

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