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Wise Smoke for the Deep Throat

Everyday Ayurveda by Bhaswati Bhattacharya

To keep the voice healthy, medicated herbs needed to be introduced into the throat periodically. Lozenges, teas and gargling work, but they touch deep into the throat for just moments. Ayurveda spent considerable time developing delivery forms for its medicines, addressing the concerns of ease of use, pleasant taste, stability in final form, ease of transport, schedule for consumption, delivery to the site in the body needed and adherence by the patient.

To deliver herbs to the deep throat, the wise men of Ayurveda sought a form that would deliver particles to a highway of constant movement of air from birth until death, where fingers do not easily reach. They watched nature and how nature delivered things from one place to another.

It is not difficult to suppose that a wise man found someone coughing after inhaling ashes and smoke from a cooking fire. From this, the pharmaceutical delivery of medicines via dhoompana was born. Medicinal smoking is not new to man. Many cultures ritually smoke plants, lighting leaves, herbs and powders on fire, to inhale the smoke. Dhoompana is a systematic prescription of particular elements that will moisturize and clean the throat and vocal cords, remove dryness, and roughness, and replace phlegm with clean mucus provoked from the throat’s rejuvenating mechanisms. The ancient shastras say that vitiated kapha in the head is eliminated most quickly by dhoompana, the drinking of smoke.

 

There are many varieties of dhoompana: for soothing coughs, for drawing up and out toxins, for moisturizing the dry throat and for eliminating waste. A typical routine in Ayurveda is the smoking of cloves in dhoompana in the winter months to soothe a sore throat and melt mucus.

 

The method for medicinal smoking is also precise. Smoke is first drawn in through the nose and then the mouth, but it is always exhaled through the mouth, as the toxins should never come through the nose, where it can travel to the space near the eyes. One should always smear some ghee or oil on the end and ignite it, so that the dhoompana is not completely dry and full of ash, and one should use an instrument to hold the herb. Sometimes, the smoke is drawn through a water vessel, called a hookah, so that the smoke is moistened. At times, the herbs are crushed and made into herbal cigarettes for ease of transport and storage.

 

The best times for dhoompana are just after bathing, eating, scraping the tongue, after brushing the teeth, after sneezing and after applying oils to the face (for example, after nasya or collyrium) and just after sleep. Common herbs include kanchnar guggul, a great scraping (lekhaniya) herb for all things kapha, especially in the neck and throat, which I use at the end of a common cold, for thyroid conditions, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and throat, as well as in case of formations of tumors in the neck and throat. Licorice (yashtimadhu) is a demulcent for those thick mucus coughs at the end of a bout of bronchitis or a bad cold. It can be smoked or added to teas and decoctions. Herbs such as cloves and cardamom also soothe the voice.

 

Ayurveda mentions a host of diseases and conditions in the face, head and neck that show great results with dhoompana. It prevents strong vātakapha disorders that occur above the shoulders. But it must be done with care at the correct times in the day’s routine, and not in excess, in order to deliver the dosha-balancing agents according to the vātapitta–kapha flows of the day and the body. Dhoompana is not the same as a casual smoke of a cigarette; it is a planned medicinal application of smoke to the throat using the principles of Ayurvedic dosha and guna theories to balance the imbalances. If done improperly, without the guidance of someone that can diagnose doshas and gunas, dhoompana can cause bleeding disorders, malfunctioning of the senses and mental disorientation. But if done well, at the right time, dhoompana liquefies the kapha in the chest, throat and head in minutes without drying, creating thirst or changes in function.

thesatime | The Southasian times

The South Asia Times Columnist Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya is a Fulbright Specialist 2018‐2023 in Public Health and Clinical Asst Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York. Her bestselling book Everyday Ayurveda is published by Penguin Random House.   bhaswati@post.harvard.edu  | www.drbhaswati.com 

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‘Yoga in the US needs more authenticity and people of color’

–Suni Gargaro, the founder and CEO of Sunia Yoga

Suni Gargaro sells yoga clothes, mats and other accessories. being of Indian origin in the yoga industry in the US means her business, Sunia Yoga, is more than what she sells — it is about representing the Indian cultural heritage of yoga.

Gargaro told CNBC, “Our company is a mission- and purpose-driven brand, where we are trying to get people on the yoga mat and go deeper with their practice.”

Now in her 40s, Gargaro moved with her family from Kerala to Des Moines, Iowa, when she was 10. As a kid in India, she had learnt Bharatanatyam, which she describes as a “dance form” of yoga. So in her late 20s, she started practicing yoga.

After a tour through corporate life, working as a business systems analyst at a wireless services company, she met her now husband, who introduced the idea of being an entrepreneur.

“It took me five years, but I truly was doing yoga the whole entire time,” she says. “One day, it just clicked, I said, ‘I love retail, I love fashion. I love yoga, I put them all together.’”

In 2018, Gargaro launched Sunia Yoga with yoga wear featuring unique patterns that connected with the Eastern mentality, she says.

Outside of a few exceptions, Gargaro says many yoga studios and teachers today aren’t aware of the whole of yoga. Yoga is about union of the mind and body, she says, and in particular, many miss the mindfulness. Instead, American teachers and studios tend to push complicated postures or fast-moving flow series. If they do chant, often the teachers don’t know the meaning of the words they are saying.

“I practice Hatha Yoga, and it’s very calm, and it’s very holding your postures and then realizing your mind, you’re breathing, you’re connecting your breath with your mind and your movement. When you’re doing flows, I don’t feel like you’re doing that,” Gargaro says.

She would like to see a greater effort in yoga teachers understanding and honoring the cultural roots of yoga.

“I really feel the authenticity and the essence is gone. And I also feel the spiritual part of it is gone. And that’s one of the main reasons that Indians in the community are not happy because of the mindfulness part of it and the spirituality aspect of it,” she says.

Going forward, she would like to see more diversity in the yoga community: more people of color and Indians.

Gargaro says the Indians who do teach yoga are often struggling and feel like they’re not being given a fair chance, “because a lot of the white people are going to go to the white instructor,” Gargaro says. “They just want to be heard more.”

Gargaro knows that Western yoga teachers aren’t necessarily aware of what’s missing.

“I don’t want to be critical,” she says. “I know everybody has their good intentions.”

CNB

Photo and story courtesy CNBC

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Learn six Indian language basics with AR lenses

The Augmented Reality lenses help Snapchatters understand the basics of six Indian languages — Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, Telugu and Kannada. They combine augmented reality and machine learning to recognize over 1000 objects and translate their names to the language one is learning, in real-time, Snapchat said in a statement.

 

The new feature was launched to reinforce the company’s localization efforts in India to build locally and culturally relevant experiences, it said.

 

A member of the Snap Lens Network, Atit Kharel is a digital creator who created the ‘learn language’ lenses following his own passion for the multilingual Indian culture.

 

He comments: “I have always been fascinated by the cultural diversity in India and the range of languages spoken here. The idea behind these lenses was to make learning Indian languages fun and easy — especially for new learners. Augmented reality can be really entertaining and can make learning more interactive and accessible.”

 

The lenses are available on Snapchat by searching ‘Learn Bengali’, ‘Learn Telugu’, ‘Learn Kannada’, ‘Learn Hindi’, ‘Learn Marathi’, ‘Learn Punjabi’ or by scanning the Snapcode.

 

How to use these Lenses: Snapchatters have to point their cameras at an object to scan it, and the Lenses will simultaneously display, along with a phonetic transcription of the word to help with pronunciation.

 

In an effort to engage youth, Snapchat has previously released localized lenses, filters and stickers.

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READER FEEDBACK

I read your article titled ‘Kadha vs Pharma Cocktail’, which is timely and gives the real picture of what is happening in this jumbo-populated country of half-learned people – India.  Here people are blindly following anything western-styled, even blindly consuming modern medicines which they know have serious side effects. Most people live like foreigners in India.

 

The term ‘half-learned’ is not meant as the hopelessness of illiteracy, but to say some behave as half-filled pots and “blind”.  Even though people are brought up with a lot of values of Dinacharya, Sadvruttha, etc., in younger age, many turn a blind eye to those gems, embracing whatever comes from the West, in the veil of modernism and development.

 

Your article is direct, giving the real picture, which I very much liked. By reading your one article one is sure to get the understanding equal to many articles of others!  I liked the sentence that reminds us that modern doctors would not give these dangerous chemical pills to their loved ones but don’t mind giving it to patients.

 

Swami Ramdev has boldly embarked upon tying the bell around the cat’s neck. Describing Ramdev’s gradual emergence and how monstrous pharma goes on plundering the hard-earned money of the common people without remembering that health is a right of each person….you have rightly described the power of united common people’ s understanding…. Thanks for such wonderful writing!

 

Dr. Dinakara Dongre

Ayurvedic physician in Govt Hospital in Udupi, Karnataka

 

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The Mathematical Language of Magic

Everyday Ayurveda by Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya

Imagine a language that embeds its understanding of chemistry, astronomy, meteorology, botany, physiology, ecology and other sciences into the etymology of words. That language is Sanskrt. With layers and layers of subtle mathematical nuance in tone, cadence, and rhythm, Sanskrt is a language done well, meaning it has perfectly encompassed all knowledge into its techniques for producing sound.

It is also one of the only languages that integrated anatomy of the oral cavity with linguistics. Lessons in Sanskrit often begin with the stretching of the mouth muscles by hyper-pronouncing the ten plus five vowels. The alphabet is then arranged in the order of sound emerging from positioning at the back of the mouth (guttural) moving forward (velar, palatal, dental) to positioning at the lips (labial).

My mother would sit with the bright pink books of grammar—called pratham bhagditiya bhag and tritiya bhag—and a wooden spoon. With the spoon, she would mark exactly timed beats, called laya, and occasionally slap our palms if we lost focus or did not repeat after her properly. She would begin with the sounds emerging from the back of the tongue. Called guttural sounds, they are formed by squeezing the vocal cords and curling the tongue into a curve to make the sounds k and g. Aspirated with some force from the vocal cords, these sounds become kh and gh. These four form the first line of the Sanskrit alphabet.

Each subsequent line of the varnamala or Sanskrit alphabet was formed from sounds emerging from spots gradually further forward in the mouth. The second line uses the palatal region to make the sounds ch and jh. The third line is known as the cerebral or retroflex position. The dental position creates the sounds of the fourth line of the Sanskrit alphabet. The fifth line formed from the sounds of the tip of the tongue touching the lips lightly to make the sounds p and b is of labial sounds. Aspirated with some force from the vocal cords, these sounds become ph and bh. Along the right end of the first five lines are the corresponding nasals ong, ñ, n., n, and m. In addition, there are three s sounds, called sibilants, a palatal, a retroflex and lower dental. Then there are four semi-vowels, y, r, l, v and one aspirated empty sound, h.

The fourteen vowels were the toughest for the American tongues my younger sisters had. Regional variations in the way vowels are released also create differences in accents, interpretations and subtle meanings. Originally, my mother showed us the Bengali way for everyday use and then altered each slightly to unfold the Sanskrit pronunciation, which had an inexplicable resonance that no regional language can master. Chanting the Sanskrit varnamala also evoked some kind of change in the quality of the air around us.

It is said that meditative powers are invoked when Sanskrit is pronounced correctly. The power of mantra is enveloped in this adage. There are prayers that can align the Universe and unleash the great potential of sound into motion, just as a wave can create a tsunami.  All mantras, slokas, and stotras invoke this power. It is the gift of a parent to teach their children these sounds seamlessly in childhood, so that they carry these tools with them through their lifetimes. Chants can heal on subtle energy levels, when chemical medicines are slow.

But what do we do about regional variants, accents and other diversities in the expression of a language? Sanskrit tried to preserve the oral accuracy of sound by grounding it in the physical world from where the sounds were generated. When pronounced correctly, these letters give full exercise to the tongue and allow the mind to hear nuances of sound that are often not heard by monolingual speakers.

thesatime | The Southasian times

The South Asia Times Columnist Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya is a Fulbright Specialist 2018‐2023 in Public Health and Clinical Asst Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York. Her bestselling book Everyday Ayurveda is published by Penguin Random House.   bhaswati@post.harvard.edu  | www.drbhaswati.com 

 

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Now you have AcroYoga: Yoga in new avatar

AcroYoga Global (AYG), the only worldwide online community for the practice and teaching of AcroYoga, celebrated the first anniversary of its online teaching platform on May 27, 2021. 

Combining the principles of traditional yoga practice and acrobatics, AcroYoga is a partner practice that involves creating and building physical shapes through collaboration, communication, and physical engagement. Partners counterbalance with, stack onto, and move with each other to achieve postures or string movements together. It is challenging, inviting, captivating, and uplifting.

In its first year, AYG has offered over 700 online acroyoga classes, taught by teachers from over 38 countries, on all continents except Antarctica. Over the last year, AYG has shared the practice of AcroYoga through the values of safety and inclusion, making this physical practice accessible and safe to all who want to participate, while embracing playfulness, curiosity, and creativity. 

AcroYoga Global offers classes for all levels, from first-timers to seasoned practitioners, with a mission to make AYG accessible and beneficial to people of all race, gender, body size, language, class, and more.

AcroYoga Global members and teachers come from 38 different countries. Teachers on the current schedule live in Sao Paulo, Kuala Lumpur, Milan, San Francisco, Sacramento, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Merida (Mexico). Classes are offered in English with support in 8 languages, depending on the instructor. All teachers are certified in their discipline by a number of quality schools.

“The pandemic has greatly altered human connection, especially intimate social interactions such as touch and interaction. Our need to belong to a community, to a support group, to a chosen family has never been repressed on such a global scale,” says AYG Co-Founder Jill Campbell, “In AcroYoga, you touch your partner not only to achieve the postures, but also to nourish trust, complicity, friendship, and compassion, among other human qualities.” 

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The Anchor of the Mind is the Present Moment

by Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya

Many are mentally and emotionally unsettled these days, eyes awash in a list of 100,000 who have died in a sea of bad leadership on the same day 100,000 kadas are reported in a country where more were predicted to die.

The brain is unsettled with the injustice, the tragedy, and many bad decisions leaving us to pay the ultimate costs.  For some, it is too much.  The confused brain naturally tries to make sense of it, using its immense powers to push you into the future and imagine scenarios of bizarre proportions, then pull you back to the present where you feel heart palpitations and panic. A moment later, the brain with the same brilliance, pulls you into the past where memories of old traumas and wicked foes who plagued you race through, then pushes you back to the present where you feel your gut churn and the shadows of depression.

Why does the brain do this to you? In its sworn duty to protect you, it works with the tools it has. If you were grown up in an environment of forgiveness and collaboration, one in which higher powers played a role, you did not learn to hang on to the past or wait wistfully for the future.

But if you were grown up in an environment of accountability, in which each wrong step or less than perfect placement of the foot was punished or taunted, you learned to recount what you did that led to the reprimand.  Many grow up playing long-gone moments over and over in their mind, utilizing the blessing of a powerful memory toward self-punishment. Some use their memories to reinforce the teaching that we should be punished for misguided actions.  Why?

The fear of punishment arises when we cannot connect that punishment to love from someone who cares for us and wants us to improve for our own betterment. If the punishment seems insulting and disconnected from love, the young mind’s instinct is to fear abandonment. It creates a hypervigilance, in which it jumps to past and future, anticipating pain and imagining new strategies for escape, remembering past action-punishment sequences. The mind gets cluttered with imaginary future tortures.

To step off the carousel of this cycle of repeated memories and anticipated agony, train yourself to stay in the present. Reframe any past events as lessons.

What is the lesson you are supposed to learn from difficult colleagues, abusive bosses or partners, unmanageable children, selfish family members, or inconsiderate neighbors? Make a list of everyone in your world with whom you cannot have easy conversations, where you feel on defense.

See each of them as lessons.  What is their presence in your life supposed to teach you? Do you have compassion for the less able? Can you forgive people who are not smart, who are more selfish or lazy than you? Do you resent people who make you spend time in ways you do not like? Do you have issues with people who waste money, especially your money? What is your attitude toward someone who has different priorities for life? How do you feel about people who have perspectives you do not understand? These people may simply be in your life to teach you lessons about yourself and how to evolve into a more compassionate, forgiving person. Learn the lesson, and often the person disappears from your life!

Step away from the interpretations and judgments of the outside world. Wise ancestors advise us to travel inward for answers and seek connection with deeper truths. The lessons of each encounter will reveal themselves to you when you stop seeing the person as a negative influence and reduce their importance. The Universe will reach in and leave you a nugget of wisdom on why the person was in your life.

Anchor yourself on the lessons and experiences that life is giving you, and allow all the instruments of the teachings to fall back into the past.

thesatime | The Southasian times

The South Asia Times Columnist Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya is a Fulbright Specialist 2018‐2023 in Public Health and Clinical Asst Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York. Her bestselling book Everyday Ayurveda is published by Penguin Random House.   bhaswati@post.harvard.edu  | www.drbhaswati.com 

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The Lost Rulers of the American Dream

by Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya  

Perhaps one of the most dangerous trends in America today is allowing people with alarmingly low skill sets to occupy seats meant for people with true competence. Not only is there a disparity in wealth, and a disparity in health, there is also an increasing and shocking disparity in the able and disabled, misabled, and non-able.

In our fights for the rights of the less advantaged, we have unwittingly enabled emotional, functional, and intellectual disability as the norm.

Take any profession: journalism, leadership, medicine, teaching, legal, repair work, crafts, construction. In business, executives take advantage of paying employees as little as they can. In academia, professors take shortcuts. Falsification of data and plagiarism are excused in official documents by providing a big donation to the right adjudicators. Sexual harassment is a mockery, with highly unbalanced policies of punishment for people at different levels of the socioeconomic poles. Repairmen do bad jobs and still expect to get paid for their time, without sincere efforts and achievement. Drug companies put the responsibility of health maintenance on the physician; the physician puts the responsibility of health maintenance on the administration that creates algorithms; the algorithm makers put the responsibility of health algorithms on hired management consultants who are novice MBAs with no clinical experience or a weekend course in holistic nutrition. Doctors are overweight, addicted to foods that we will learn are cancerous a decade from now, and self-righteous about systems of the body they will privately confess they know nothing about. Consider the immune system as an example.

We allow capitalists with long histories of misusing money to be public servants. We allow public servants to become capitalists. In the name of freedom. We have non-discrimination policies that allow people with addictions and questionable mental health to take care of our schools and children. We allow people with actions that reflect poor humanitarian ideals to run large institutions, courts, sectors of the government, large companies that affect millions of lives. We allow church fanatics to own guns, people whose faith encourages them to wipe out those of other faiths who are damned anyway. We turn the other way when women use sex and allure to gain positions and items of wealth and comfort but imprison them when they take paper money.

We trust the teachings of elders, yet at the beginning of our schooling, we tolerate school teachers who show their ineptitude with their bias and inability to set examples as competent Beings. This escalates with the prestige of the teacher to the university. The level of academic crimes today simply indicates the level of the mentality and psychological maturity of today’s faculty. Rather than enforce great faculty rules of conduct, chairmen tolerate digressions, holding the rules as swords rather than as lights to guide the way.

Where is all this taking the great society that we have tried to build in the land of America? The farce of a great society built on freedom is revealing itself as we watch selective people allowed selective freedoms with no consequences, no retribution. Police shoot who they want. Executives sue who they want. Federal investigators arrest who they want. There are no longer any obligations of morals. And we the populous are failed, left with lost presumptions that our elected leaders will serve the society that pays them handsomely.

Rules apply to one group of people who exempt themselves but hold others to punishment for the same words or actions. It is not one man who is destroying the vision of a great nation. It is all the men and women who have no shame or self-correction for not having the skills required for their jobs. The nation is being destroyed by those ignoring that conscience that requires them to gain competence or step away from positions of power that claim to take care of others.

Corruption works because there are so many people who are simply unable and still want to be paid for jobs they just do not or cannot do well. And as a nation we have allowed ineptitude and corruption to rule all three pinnacles of power that were supposed to check and balance each other.

Ineptitude is the trump card for special treatment that pardons, excuses and allows laws to be broken without consequence. And we continue to allow it.

thesatime | The Southasian times

The South Asia Times Columnist Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya is a Fulbright Specialist 2018‐2023 in Public Health and Clinical Asst Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York. Her bestselling book Everyday Ayurveda is published by Penguin Random House.   bhaswati@post.harvard.edu  | www.drbhaswati.com 

 

 

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The World Cup: Kadha vs. Pharma Cocktail

A deep dive into the Swami Ramdev vs IMA controversy  

In 1999, Swami Ramdev began teaching westernized Indian people yoga. Within three years, large stadiums in north India filled with Indians eager to learn pranayam, basic asanas, and how to use local spices and herbs to better their health. The yoga camps spread through India, then around the world. Within a few  more years, his popularity spread to television. People continued to listen to him, not because he donned his hairy chest to the world while demonstrating complicated poses of yoga, but because what he recommended was tried by millions of people, many of whom saw benefits that mainstream medicine could not give them. People sat down at scheduled times around the planet to “do Baba Ramdev,” and partake in yoga and breathwork. Pranayam re-entered Indians’ vocabulary. Sales of remedies he recommended soared within hours of the telecast.

From a jungle location in 1999, he  and his team of 5 began to build a factory, a school, a medical college, a research facility, and after they had surpassed the Rs 12,000 crore annual revenue mark (about $1.7 million) in 2015, he began to influence political decisions made by lawmakers. They liked his money, his command over people, his charisma, essentially what every politician needs. Patanjali has now crossed $1.6 billion and rivals Big Pharma players. This is where the problem starts, as he has money but also the support of the People of the second largest nation on the planet.

Fast forward to 2021, Ramdev was sitting in a private company meeting, not a public press conference, during which he read a message on his phone, in which he voices the words “…allopathy is such a stupid and diwalia (bankrupt) science …” It was captured on a video, clipped and went viral. This event has enraged both allopaths and ayurvedic physicians who stand on different sides of the debate, fanned by the media and various stakeholders who love to watch wrestling matches.

The attack started with an NGO started by Christian missionaries of British India, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), sending an open letter of 22 May 2021, challenging the Indian government to discipline Ramdev for his derogatory statement in this time of the pandemic, where the Epidemic Act requires all citizens to obey laws complying with medical directives.

The next day officials wrote a reprimanding letter to Ramdev. On 24 May he withdrew any statement that people might find offensive. Later that day Ramdev and Patanjali Yogpeeth (Trust) wrote a letter to the IMA and pharmaceutical companies (ref. B.S.T./H.O./2021/172), with 25 rhetorical questions posited to the supporters and flag bearers of mainstream science and medicine.

The questions in his open letter invite commentary by articulate but authentic experts of the sciences who also practice medicine, but the IMA has not provided answers, primarily because they cannot. IMA represents only 260K of the nation’s 12 million physicians (about 2%), most of whom are more interested in suppressing non-western approaches to medicine than they are about patient-centered care. Indeed, IMA defends allopathy by attacking ayurveda.

Ramdev targeted allopathy for having few cures for the chronic diseases – which comprise most of today’s ailments. He has often mentioned that allopathy is only good for pain relief and infections, and lauds allopathy for surgeries and emergency care as its greatest contributions to the previous practices of medicine worldwide. This is what common people also understand. Suppression of the body’s symptoms is the usual tool of pharmaceuticals, and side effects and complications are sold with them and are not treated well by allopathy.

The IMA vs Ramdev controversy is flaring due to the raging backdrop of a pandemic, which the Indian government is diligently trying to control. Rather than focus on the urgency of solutions for the pandemic, Ramdev’s rhetorical questions about allopathy not having answers for chronic diseases has hit a sore spot, as it is a non-urgent debate for another time. Other governments on the globe are emphasizing the approaches and tools of the medical establishment and pharma, the tests, vaccines, drugs. After many failures and no evidence-based approaches, the nations are gradually moving forward.

Ramdev points out that no other system appears to have remedies or useful procedures, mostly because minority medical systems are suppressed. Many nations in Africa and southeast Asia, as well as India, have traditional medical systems and local remedies, which receive no attention or exploration because they cannot compete with the hegemony of laws that suppress them. Rigid rules for providing evidence apply to the traditional systems but not to allopathic drugs. The media does not emphasize these remedies, and common people are led to believe that no other remedies or protocols exist.  Vaccines for Covid  have become the predominant strategy and are  publicized. If traditional medicines were given and showed the same side effects as the vaccines, they would be taken off the market. The question also remains on why the pharmaceutical companies are not demanded to provide the vaccines at cost, and to make zero net profits.

However, Ramdev and his team of 500 scientists are smarter than they appear. Patanjali has already profited greatly from the pandemic in several ways: by donating in humanitarian gestures, by producing and publishing a clinical study of ayurvedic medicine for Covid, and monetarily by introducing Coronil, which has sold over 20 million units, use their best publicity and soft power of India – the word-of-mouth.

But Ramdev’s war is not against the IMA. It is against the legions of pharmaceutical producers and their puppets, poor-quality, yet qualified and licensed doctors who prescribe those pharmaceuticals. Most drugs have limited or low efficacy but are protected by the legal structures that set up regulations to protect Big Pharma at the expense of the People. Evidence that shows they do not work on large parts of the population are suppressed. Everyone in the chain of selling pharmaceuticals lives on money made by propagating the industry, without any guilt of personally harming anyone. Clever marketing convinces them they are part of a worthy cause. Ostensibly, the physician prescribed a needed medicine to a patient. Under the surface there is indeed a mafia.

The ancient texts of Ayurveda warn again and again that physicians must make the medicines that go into patients’ hands and bodies. The ethics of handing a medicine to someone that does not work is a check against adulteration and spurious contents. If you couldn’t hand it to your most beloved you can’t hand it to a patient, is the hope. Even today, people devoted to traditional medicines know that the medicine prepared by the physician is better than any mass-made  purchase.

Ramdev is not fighting with the competent physicians who focus on patient-centered care. He is creating a groundswell to go after the  pharma mafia. That is why he gets on TV and does not send one of the articulate 500 scientists that work for him. He wants to bring awareness to the People, not the technical experts. This population-driven movement transformed India from slavery 80 years ago. The millennials have never felt it, so they do not know the power of Freedom Fighters.

Fighting for Health Freedom and Truth about Pharma will transform the ability of countries to afford healthcare for their people. Reducing the power of the hegemonic pharmaceutical lobby will allow the poor to get the medicine they need, and detach the nefarious deeds that Big Pharma does with their huge profits.

As the People, our next steps should be to uncover the data behind Big Pharma’s profiteering, to translate the technical papers in the research literature to show people in common language how a drug works.

When we shout that breast cancer affects 1 in 9 women, and send donations to foundations that use pharmaceutical monies to do research on drugs, we should remember that breast cancer does NOT affect 8 in 9 women. Non-pharmaceuticals that preserve health and prevent cancers are often a better option. When the evidence shows that statins predispose patients to serious neurological disease, we must help the People understand what the mediocre doctor does not convey. When remdesivir, ivermectin, and hydroxychloroquine do not have evidence by mainstream medicine standards, why are we using them? Pharma has convinced us.

The next steps are to demand lawmakers to cap pricing of pharmaceuticals. A wholesale drug seller provided remdesivir to physicians at Rs.740 for a 100mg tablet, which was sold in hospitals in India for Rs.5000. This allowed hospitals and private physicians to support remdesivir. Once the data showed its lack of efficacy, officials were convinced to suppress the findings for as long as possible, quietly taking their own family away from the drug, but happily providing it to the affording buyer.

Governments must be pressured to disallow the monopoly that pharmaceuticals have as the predominant medical option for patients. The People must be informed about all health options and not falsely told that a drug is the only option. Lying to the People about their health must stop. States can and must take back the power of making laws against economics that hurt the people. This is what Ramdev is doing, to take back the Right to Health that ancient wisemen knew, that modern lawmakers have been too weak to assert into Law.

 

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