The Consulate General of India in New York organized an event to celebrate Ayurveda Day on 2nd November 2021. Ayurveda Day is celebrated on Dhanvantri Jayanti or Dhanteras, a festival that takes place two days before Diwali. Welcoming the guests, Consul General Randhir Jaiswal conveyed his greetings to one and all on the occasion of the sixth Ayurveda Day. He recalled how Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine, was fast becoming relevant to health and well-being in modern times. “To treat ailments today, one has to draw from all available sources of scientific medical knowledge, and for that reason integrative medicine approach which counts on Ayurveda along with other systems, was fast becoming popular” – he noted. He emphasized how the salience of Ayurveda and traditional knowledge were on the rise across the world, especially at a time when there was a strong urge among the global community to go “back-to-basics”. In this regard, he highlighted some data points from the WHO Global Report on Traditional and Complementary Medicine 2019 – number of countries with national policy on traditional and complementary medicine has increased from 25 in 1998 to 98 in 2019 and countries with health insurance cover for traditional and complementary medicine has increased from 37 in 2012 to 45 in 2018. Consul General underlined the vast network of scientific studies being undertaken on Ayurveda in universities in the United States and in research ecosystems across the world including in India.
2. The highlight of the event was a panel discussion held on the theme “Ayurveda in everyday life for the modern fast lifestyle”. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Kushal Choksi, a former Wall Street trader who has co-founded ‘Elements Truffles’, an Ayurveda inspired food start-up. The distinguished panelists included Mr. Bhushan Deodhar, an Ayurveda enthusiast and CEO of Shankara Naturals; Ms. Divya Alter, Founder & Director of Bhagavat Life, which is perhaps the only dedicated Ayurvedic culinary center in New York City, and also credited with North America’s first Ayurvedic chef certification program; Ms. Alak Vasa, Co-Founder of Element Truffles, an Ayurveda inspired artisanal chocolate company; and Ms. Nidhi Pandya, a renowned Ayurvedic expert. The panelists focused their presentations on how to bring Ayurvedic way of living in modern life. They also emphasized on the benefits of Ayurveda and how it connected health to sustainability. Explaining the tenets of Ayurveda, they outlined the myriad ways in which it embraces nature and the environment. They appreciated the push being given by the Government of India to promote Ayurveda and traditional systems of medicine in India and abroad. In this context, they noted the establishment of a special Ministry in India – Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy) – to give a boost to traditional medicine and knowledge. The conversation reinforced Ayurveda’s position as a way of life with universal appeal. It renewed commitment of the community to share this time-tested knowledge that could benefit people across cultures, traditions and lifestyles.
3. The program ended with chanting of musical mantras by Ms. Jahnavi Harrison. The guests at the event were served delicious Ayurveda inspired vegetarian lunch comprising super foods such as Makhana (commonly known as foxnuts) and other specialties. The audience was most delighted to know that an Ayurveda ecosystem was fast developing in New York area with Ayurvedic expertise and choices for a healthy living.
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