The Newsletter 65 Autumn 2013

From heritage to practice: Ayurveda in Delhi's public healthcare system

Sharmistha Mallick

In recent years, the Department of AYUSH has taken initiatives at various levels to promote and ‘mainstream’ Ayurveda and other Indian systems of medicine. With this ‘mainstreaming’ the representations and practices of Ayurveda have changed drastically. Various agents, such as the market and the state, are involved in reconfiguring and redefining Ayurveda as a medical tradition and a field of practice. This has undermined Ayurveda’s holistic approach, the role of the Ayurvedic practitioner, and the authority of the Ayurvedic canons. Here, ‘Heritage Ayurveda’ is compared to contemporary Ayurvedic public health practices, whereby the term ‘Heritage Ayurveda’ refers to the current interpretation of Ayurveda’s history.

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