Dr. Chhagan Jangid is a well-known name in the Ayurveda fraternity. He is a Government Medical Officer and the National President of Nasya India. He has been working continuously for the past many years toward the cause of well-being through Ayurveda. He has the vision to make the young students the enablers of the Ayurveda way of wellness in the modern age. He talked at length with Nirogstreet, sharing his experiences, insights, dreams, and commitments. He is one of the few who can inspire the Ayurveda Youth with their own passion for it.
Dr. Jangid, please tell us briefly about your education.
I am originally from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The inclination to choose a career in medicine started from my family itself. My siblings were already into academics, architect-engineering, and law, so my father wanted me to become a doctor. Those were the days of Pre-Medical Tests (PMTS) and I took it too for admission. Since I was familiar with Ayurveda, somehow I opted for it and got into the National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA), Jaipur. The immediate thing I learned as soon as I joined the college was that an ordinary student has no value whatsoever.
I still remember those first few days when our seniors, even some teachers used to chide and reproach us disapprovingly as if coming to Ayurveda was a big mistake we had committed. It taught me the valuable lesson that mediocrity has no takers at all. For the next few months, I studied hard, entirely focused to shun criticism with the means of devotion and hard work.
In a short span of time, my industry paid off well. The student Dr. Jangid became popular when he topped the B.A.M.S. first Prof. I was being respected for the simple reason that I did what I was supposed to do: study deeply and dedicatedly. When I finished my graduation years, I was the second topper in B.A.M.S. I had not only stood by Ayurveda, but I had also proved my point and I am still proud of it.
Thereafter, I went to Jamnagar to pursue my post-graduation from I.P.G.T. & R.A., Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar. Its International Center for Ayurvedic studies is a great place to learn about real Ayurveda.
Indeed, passion and hard work are the marks of great success, Dr. Jangid. How did your career path move after you completed your post-graduation in Ayurveda?
After I completed my PG there, I came to Rajasthan Ayurved University, Jodhpur (my hometown) to work under my Guru Ji Prof. Banwarilal Gaur, (Former Director - National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur and Former Vice-Chancellor - Rajasthan Ayurved University, Jodhpur) a distinguished figure who has written many Ayurveda books and won several awards for his expertise and contribution to Ayurveda. I worked with him for four months.
Then I joined Punjab Ayurvedic Medical College and Hospital, Sri-Ganganagar (Raj.) as a lecturer in the Dept. of Basic Principles. Later on, there came this vacancy of only one post in ESIC (Employees’ State Insurance Corporation) Delhi and around 300 – 350 Candidates appeared for the written examination and a total of 13 Candidates were called for the interview including me. I got the post eventually and joined ESIC Hospital Basaidarapur, New Delhi on 20th June 2009 as I.M.O. (Insurance Medical Officer) grade ii.
Currently, I am working as a Senior Medical Officer (S.M.O.) at ESIC in Delhi.
How was Nasya (national Ayurveda Students Youth Association) formed?
This too is an interesting story, you see. The year was 2008 and I was attending the 3rd World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo (WAC) on 20th December, the organizers were calling two representatives from each state to form a National Platform (later known as Nasya) for the Students & Youth of Ayurveda, the reason being the students after spending five and a half years in B.A.M.S. actually have no clue about what to do further with their knowledge and degrees.
They either join some private medical setup for sustenance or just keep looking for Government jobs. I became a little vocal about this and I got the attention of Dr. Asit Kumar Panja who recommended my name for WAC Coordinator - Delhi for the scheduled 4th World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo 2010, Bengaluru, and as a part of it, I was given an opportunity to organize an Ayush-Supported one-day conference with the theme career options in Ayush systems.
The conference was a grand success. A new enthusiastic vibe could be felt in the audience and this was perhaps the beginner’s luck that got me recommended by someone (yet unknown) to the then newly forming Nasya Committee.
The name of the organization has a strategic anecdote you’d like to know. If you ask the Doctors, Panchakarma is considered a half-treatment on its own. And Nasya is actually one of the five procedures of Panchakarma, used to detoxify the brain and its processes. Dr. G. Geetha Krishnan (Honorable Patron to Nasya, and recently appointed as Technical Officer Ayush – WHO) and Dr. Asit Panja led team suggested this name, remarking that the organization would play a similar role in cleansing the confusion and self-doubt from the minds of the students and youth of Ayurveda.
That was a great anecdote, Dr. Jangid. Really a well-thought conception. So, how did you align yourself with Nasya’s vision, the incumbent role, and responsibilities that came in your stride?
You just have to organize your priorities if you see. Nasya was formed with the vision that Ayurveda students shall become good clinicians, researchers, and academicians after their B.A.M.S. it was formed to instill in them confidence, bring information, as well as ease of access to opportunities and practical training. I put in my efforts and we did a remarkable job there. I was made the general secretary in 2011-12. At that time, Nasya’s reach was contained to 4-5 states.
With guidance from Vd. Bhavdeep Ganatra (Former President Nasya) and Vijnana Bharati, we pushed our limits well. In November 2014, the world Ayurveda foundation and we conducted the 6th World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo; in Delhi. On 10th November 2014, we had organized our 1st National Convention in Delhi and I have appointed as the General Secretary again with our new team – Dr. Vikrant Patil as National President, Dr. Prashant Tiwari as National Coordinator.
Now we are present in more than 21 states. We have dedicated state teams in 14 states. From 2014 to 2017, we have grown our footprint significantly. Vijnana Bharati has crucial two arms for the betterment of the Ayurveda community: (1) World Ayurveda Foundation (WAF) that holds World Ayurveda Congress every two years and (2) Nasya which works throughout the year at three levels, viz. – Ayurveda Institution, Students & Youth, and Society.
Recently in the second general body meeting held in Delhi on 27th & 28th January 2018, I was made the national president. This adds more responsibilities upon my shoulders, which I must undertake with utmost sincerity. The uniqueness and strength of Nasya as an organization is that all the people working in it are Youth. Besides few reasonable exceptions, most of the workers are under 40 years of age.
How do you manage your time for such engagements after your primary duty as SMO?
This is again about priorities. After office time and mostly on holidays, I use my personal free time to expedite my Nasya duties. We all are working for the future of Ayurveda and the students. We share our workload, responsibilities, etc. Among ourselves and divide our time so that no one has to be constrained by the limitation of the spare time we have.
How are the recent plans coming for Nasya?
It has been an insightful and commendable journey so far. Do you know, we are in the Guinness World Records for conducting Panchakarma in which altogether 733 people participated! We also organized the first Ayurveda Youth festival, i.e., Rashtriya Ayurveda Yuva Mahotsava 2017 (September 14 – 16) in 2017. More than 3,500 students and Youth of Ayurveda from 21 states along with Nepal and Sri Lanka participated in it.
It was the largest event at the National level. Even the Honorable Ayush Minister, Secretary Ayush, Local MP, MLA, and many more dignitaries attended the festival to motivate the young audience. It was held in Jaipur. NIA (National Institute of Ayurveda) was the co-organizer for the event. In fact, NIA has played a vital role in the history of Nasya’s endeavors and initiatives.
We have our upcoming event lined up, which is the Rashtriya Ayurveda Krida Mahotsav 2018 in Bhopal (MP). It would be held between June to September. We want to send the message to the Youth that studies alone cannot serve the purpose of well-being. We aim for the overall development of the Youth.
Dr. Jangid, what challenges do you see for Ayurveda and students?
For the advancement and propagation of Ayurveda, a lot depends upon the government policies. The quality of institutions too is important. In the Ayurveda colleges of Southern India, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, Students get to have hands-on practice apart from theoretical knowledge from their first year onwards. This integration of clinical practice lacks in many other states. Even Acharya Sushruta had told that the theory and the practice should always be 50-50 percent and well-balanced.
Take an example, Nadi Pariksha is so Critical in Ayurveda, yet a handful practices this skill today. If you go to Southern India, many people know this rare art and some of them are not even B.A.M.S. at Nasya, we are trying to change this too. We help the Ayurveda Students and Doctors learn from these Nadi Experts the fine nuances of this absolutely precise and ancient skill set.
Ayurveda has been sidelined for so many years. Look at China and how it has promoted and kept to its Traditional Chinese Medicine. They have evolved it so much. They even won a Nobel prize. We have to be more aware of our own traditional virtues to know how Ayurveda too is capable of such feats and beyond.
Another thing to ponder is that we require Primary Health Centers in Ayurveda too. Minor illnesses too need to be cured and overseen by Ayurveda experts. As said in the texts, all diseases begin from the stomach (like constipation, acidity, and indigestion). You can’t just treat a minor disease for its symptom and think that there is no further risk of health to that patient at all.
In education, we ought to focus on so many aspects. To help the students learn more and have a strong sense of community and fraternity is highly required. I have given suggestions to several students to not go looking for jobs or compromise their crucial Ayurveda education. Rather, they should start practicing. For infrastructure and clinical set-up, they can start by collaborating with each other. 4-5 Students together can build a great Ayurveda Clinic / Hospital / Institution. They wouldn’t have to look elsewhere.
What do you make of the integrated medicine initiative?
I think Ayurveda Doctors and even the students should not be falsely charmed by Allopathy, neither should be the people. In Gujarat, there is this wonderful program by our Nasya – Gujarat team, “Main Hoon Na”. It is in essence a reassurance in Ayurveda. Allopathy should only be used in emergency and exceptional scenarios.
The recent Hullabaloo about the bridge course is again something that should be been in a better light. You would undermine the effectiveness and significance of Ayurveda if you don’t put your complete trust in it. If an Ayurveda practitioner starts prescribing Allopathic medicine so readily, the whole principle behind the genesis of Ayurveda is lost. Do not forget that Ayurveda is Holistic life science. It is preventive in approach too. It doesn’t treat just the symptoms but rather the root cause.
In a conference in Bhopal, modern health professionals asked the question, why Ayurveda is still a secondary treatment if it is has been here for so long and if it is so effective. Those who ask such questions haven’t looked deep into the recorded history. Here goes this incident that once a British Officer accidentally cut his nose with a sword. He didn’t know what to do and when people suggested that he should visit a Kumhar (Potter) nearby to get it fixed, at first he guffawed. But then he did see that potter. That potter really fixed his nose, because he was an Ayurveda surgeon too. So, Ayurveda is not a secondary medicine system at all.
Another presumptive argument I often hear is that it is not a scientific and effective medical system. How did it survive for 5,000 years and still remains in the convention, contending the failures of modern medicines and presenting possibilities, e.g. in the case of so many non-communicable and fatal diseases?
What are your views on the recent Government efforts?
The present Government has done remarkably well to advance the Ayurveda ecosystem. Since 1947, a major push has come in the last 2-3 years only. For the first time, we have an independent Ayush Ministry. By Ayush, I exclusively mean Ayurveda to be frank. Earlier the Government officials, usually an IAS Officer used to be in charge as the secretary, but this time a seasoned Ayurveda expert, Padma Shri, former Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar, Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha has been appointed as the secretary. It is the right direction. If we want to better the health of society, we need such people in the ministry who understand well what Ayurveda is and what it can do. A lot of policies have changed for the better due to this.
The recent tie-up with the railways to facilitate and the undergoing talks to include Ayush services for defense health care are vital too. If it goes like this, it will open new avenues as well as increase the reach of Ayurveda and its advantages thereof.
How would you counter the argument that Ayurveda has no evidence-based approach?
I know we’re blamed that we’ve no evidence. Prof. Ram Harsh Singh (Banaras Hindu University), a distinguished Ayurveda expert of this country, has answered such arguments effectively. You see, there are two types of evidence: primary and secondary. The primary evidence is that the patient reports an improvement thereafter the treatment. Such testimonies and proofs have been available in plenty. The actual basis of the argument in question comes from the secondary evidence, i.e., the researches that are done. In the last decade, so many Ayurveda researchers have been accepted and published in International and renowned journals.
I’d give you some more insights. 3,000 years ago, Charaka wrote that Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula) acts as a mild laxative and helps clean bowels. This is as valid and proven today as it was then. We all have known that Chyawanprash counters aging. The concept of Pancha Mahabhuta is as intact as it was ever. What evidence do you need for a science that has survived millennia and centuries of changes and scientific progress?
Gyan (ved/knowledge) and Vigyan (science) are fundamentally different from each other. Gyan is absolute and eternal. You can’t change the fundamental property of anything. Gyan doesn’t change. Vigyan can change over time. Ayurveda works with Gyan to become the Ayurveda, not Ayurvigyan. Allopathy has a threat from Ayurveda since the latter is a natural health science. It does not prescribe synthetic medicines as Allopathy does. It not just cures, but heals the individual. Many kinds of research are going on today and the whole perspective that Ayurveda doesn’t have evidence is fast-shifting.
Is the natural herbs-based treatment the real strength of Ayurveda?
That’s just one of the most important aspects of this medical system. The medicinal value of the natural herbs and the utmost care taken in order to create an Ayurveda medicine without polluting it is there for a reason. Usually, patients come to us and say that they had been taking some Allopathic medicine to relieve the symptoms mostly in the case of severe pain, for a long.
Long-time use of these painkillers can cause kidney failure, it is known that paracetamol weakens the liver, antacids decrease the calcium level, and so on. Remedy based on medicinal herbal drugs is safe and effective.
Let me tell you about the one episode that is both famous and insightful in such context. Once the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was suffering from a disease that wouldn’t seem to stop even after all the Allopathic treatment. So he consulted the Vaidya appointed to him. The vaidya suggested that Nehru should take Vrihat Vatchintamani Ras that is used in Vata Vikara.
This sent his health advisors into a tizzy, fidgeting whether it would be safe for the prime minister to take an Ayurveda medicine that contains metals. IIT Delhi was consulted and they tested and researched the medicine and came out with the conclusion that the particles were so tiny that they’d cross the semipermeable membrane of the cells without causing any harm. Such is the preparation of Ayurveda medicine!
Keep in mind that quality control is important while preparing or mixing Ayurveda medicines (either herbal in nature or herbo-metallic or metallic only). It is not the fault of Ayurveda if negligence in quality results in non-effectiveness of the medicine. Permission shouldn’t be issued without ensuring that the right standards and procedures are followed.
On a closing note, what would be your message to the young doctors and students?
I believe in the mantra धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः as laid down in the Manusmriti. By Dharma, I mean our Karmakshetra. If we protect Ayurveda, it would protect us. I’d say that the Ayurveda practitioners should adopt Ayurveda in spirit and practice both. I always prescribe Ayurvedic medicines to all my family members if they get sick. Except in an extraordinary situation, always cure the illness through Ayurveda. It should be the first line of treatment always, professionally and personally.
If you can’t have the confidence to treat your own family with Ayurveda, you’d never become a good practitioner outside. I have a Guru-Shishya relationship with my son and it heartens me to pass on the authentic teachings to this young, keen soul.
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Dr. Sugeeta Mutreja is a pure Ayurveda practitioner who has spent a significant number of years practicing Ayurveda. She is passionate about the preventive approach of this traditional medicine system. Nirogstreet talked to her about her Ayurveda journey so far, key learnings, experiences, and insights. A dawn person who doesn't miss her morning walks, Dr. Mutreja is an inspiration for many young students of Ayurveda. She works from her Dwarka (New Delhi) based clinic named diet and nutrition. Read her interview below:
Dr. Mutreja, please tell us about your educational background and professional qualification briefly.
I completed my B.A.M.S. in the year 2001 from SSMD Ayurvedic College, Moga (Punjab). Thereafter, being in the medical profession, I found lifestyle disorders getting very common. So, I thought of entering into preventive healthcare. After spending 6 years with this approach, I realized the need for additional business requirements that the medical profession demands, and hence I did my M.B.A. in hospital administration in 2010. Later on, choosing diets & nutrition as my ultimate goal, I opted for a diploma in nutrition and health education which I completed in 2016.
That is a great diversification of your skill sets and expertise. Tell us, why did you choose Ayurvedic practices, after all?
Ayurveda lays emphasis on prevention rather than the cure of disease and hinges on nature’s rich botanical heritage, which really fascinated me towards itself. I am very much proud to be associated with Ayurveda which is now adopted in the mainstream of India. This unique system of medicine is not interested in suppressing symptoms.
The whole approach here is different. Ayurveda not only treats people, but it also seeks to find and cure the root cause of disease. It promotes a healthy life for becoming a healthy individual. Ayurveda is the science of life. Since I wanted to work on lifestyle disorders, Ayurveda could be the only possible choice for its management.
What is your experience when it comes to treating patients? Do they trust the treatment?
While treating patients through Ayurveda, I find them getting curious as well as relieved that they’re in a comfortable zone, as they very well realize that they are in the safe ecosystem of nature’s treatment. People obviously trust the treatment, that’s why the count of people adopting Ayurveda is increasing significantly. It is easy to trust this system as it is the oldest therapy system and most of the Indians have experienced this in their lives starting from their homes, more or less.
It is great to hear that people are believing in Ayurveda more and more. Any challenge that you face as a practitioner?
Sometimes I face the challenge when people compare the pace of the treatment with that of Allopathy. Also, I often find that people come to us as the last resort when the condition has really worsened and other pathies have been null and void in their cure.
Any out of an ordinary situation that you have faced while treating a patient?
Yeah, I remember it very well. Once I cured the hiccups of one of my patients in just an hour while before he was suffering from the issue for the last 3 days. I would also highlight the case of a patient, wherein he was suffering from high cholesterol levels for 17 years and was on Allopathic medication. His cholesterol levels came to the normal stats as I suggested he maintain a healthy diet and prescribed some herbs.
How effective is traditional medicine as a cure?
As I said earlier, the focus in Ayurveda is upon curing the individual person, not just treating the symptoms through the lifetime use of chemical drugs. It is truly a logical system that one can actually call scientific as it is based primarily on observing nature in all its forms.
Ayurvedic treatment consists of the use of herbal preparations, diet, yoga, meditation, etc. Many Ayurvedic preparations used by Ayurvedic practitioners show great results when treating various chronic disorders like Arthritis, Skin Disorders, Chronic fever, Infertility, Hormonal Imbalances, etc. Yoga, an integral part of Ayurveda, has been very utile to patients with heart diseases and hypertension. Ayurveda promotes well being and improves the quality of life.
What do you think of Ayurveda’s future and its role in integrated medicine?
We very well know that the whole world including India is spending billions of currencies every year on using methods to prevent diseases or to maintain the existing state of health of the society-at-large. Whereas this is the basic principle of Ayurveda on the other hand. Ayurveda lays the foundation for the prevention of diseases. So clearly, the future of Ayurveda is very much bright.
One must note that the Ayurvedic system of medicine promotes “Swasthashya Swasthya Rakshanam “, which means to maintain the health of the healthy, rather than Aturashya Vikara Prashamanancha, which means to cure the diseases of the diseased. For this purpose, the Dinacharya (Daily Regimen) and Ritucharya ( seasonal regimen ) have been mentioned in the classic texts of Ayurveda, which is a unique feature of this healing system. Ayurveda is very safe and very economical too. People nowadays are very educated, so they can clearly see the benefits of a safe system, i.e., our Ayurveda.
Do you think Nirogstreet is making a great difference by striving to connect the mainstream society exclusively to Ayurveda practitioners through dedicated technology platforms?
Of course, yes. They have created a platform whereby Ayurveda practitioners are meeting other practitioners as well as the patients directly online, thereby enhancing their own reputation as well as spreading Ayurveda knowledge. By virtue of all this, Ayurveda has become at par with other streams of the medical profession.
Any hobbies or activities you engage in, outside your professional life?
Sure, as everybody needs to relax in one or the other way. I enjoy morning walks a lot with my friends. I am a freak-out person by nature.
What message would you like to convey to the people on Wellbeing?
People need to be aware of their food intake in moderate quantity, daily physical exercises, and very importantly a sound sleep. So, people just need to make sure that three Doshas of the body i.e. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are balanced most of the time.
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In conversation with Mr. Thomas Vallomtharayil
The era of integrated medicine has already dawned upon the healthcare industry and Ayurveda is slated to become one of the key contributors to this new age of wellness. the international arogya 2017 event echoed this during the first week of December in which a large number of delegates from across the globe participated with an enthusiastic spirit. Thomas Vallomtharayil too took part in the event to showcase the progress Ayurveda is making in the advanced countries, especially Europe, in treatment and research.
Mr. Vallomtharayil is the chief executive officer at the medical park at ruhr valley, Germany. he is also the managing director of vallo med health care gmbh. he is associated with the charitable institution European institute of personalized and integrated health care.
Scientific research on involving Ayurveda in modern treatment and advancement of herbology are the two important facets in integrated medicine. Mr. Vallomtharayil told Nirogstreet that technology is going to play a crucial role in determining the accessibility of integrated medicine to the people. he said that breakthroughs are being made that will define the relevance and efficacy of Ayurveda medicine in modern times.
He shed more light on this by an example: “the onset of cancer takes place in different stages. it is only in the fourth or fifth stage that we are able to diagnose a patient for the precise cause, that is to say, we diagnose cancer only in the later stages when it is already a bit late for the person. what if we are able to pin down the ailment even before it has deepened its roots to the advanced stages?”
Mr. Thomas Vallomtharayil spoke of the researches in which he too is engaged. he said that scientific efforts are being conducted on biomarkers with the help of the postulations in Ayurveda. a careful study would analyze several biomarkers to find a pattern and the correlation would lead us to the concrete answers we have long been seeking. He said that a factor as common as stress can be an early sign for a range of diseases, such as kidney failure, diabetes, or cancer.
The methodology to determine the causation factors through biomarkers is a unique approach so far. it will help predict the changes in cells in all the different stages of the disease and the count itself will have its advantage. instead of a post-disease treatment, the approach would help control the problem and even warn the patient in case the disease moves to the next stage.
Mr. Vallomtharayil hopes that the governments and experts of Germany and India would work together toward this objective of wellness and health that Ayush programs seek to accomplish. discussing the challenges and plans with nirogstreet, he also brought forth the issue of manual diagnosis and research that is in use by traditional practitioners as well as research facilities. he said that his center is in keeping a tab on the development of touch-modeled devices that would be able to carry the nadi parikshan, constitution (Prakriti) analysis, etc.
Just at the slightest contact. such point-of-care devices will ease the trouble for the experts, especially in remote and hilly areas, where bulky lab equipment and heavy devices cannot be carried everywhere. He added that a typical lab machine costs 300,000 euros in Europe. the cost per patient with all the charges comes to 1,500 euros for an average patient. “with these handheld devices, the cost per patient would come down to just 50 euros and I have seen one such prototype that can diagnose malaria immediately, there are mobile medical devices that have been used to ascertain ebola cases too.” he spoke.
Cancer is a big threat today and modern medicine is still puzzled by this disease to a large extent. Mr. Vallomtharayil sees Ayurveda as the new hope for cancer patients. he told us that chemotherapy as a choice not only risky but also puts the patient’s health at much more stake. He argues that more than 50,000 euros are spent by a cancer patient on their chemo treatment. With integrated medicine, the costs can be brought down to as low as 700 euros which are not just far less expensive but counter the side effects too.
How integrated medicine evolves in the coming years is yet to be seen, but it is certain that Ayurveda and its preventive approach can bring a huge turnaround for the ailing and increasingly unreliable modern healthcare system. the reward would be a healthy society.
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