Surgical practice and Ayurveda: A realistic analysis of the current debate
The recent notification issued by the Central Council of Indian Medicine making it compulsory for the postgraduate students of two streams of Ayurveda (Shalya Tantra and Shalakya Tantra) to be trained in different kinds of modern surgical procedures as a part of their curricula has led to a nation-wide debate. While practitioners from biomedical sciences are voicing their concerns against the decision, Ayurveda professionals are seen defending the same. In this article we try to look at this issue from a dispassionate and realistic point of view. We recount the historical milestones that paved way for the incorporation of the modern surgical practices in to Ayurveda curricula. Currently though there are many skilful Ayurveda surgeons who practice surgery in India, the standard of education in many Ayurveda colleges is very poor because of a low patient turn-out which is a matter of serious concern. We argue that, however, by citing these varying standards in education, imposing deliberate restrictions on Shalya-Shalakya students and not giving them access to treat patients too is unwarranted. Such a move can affect the research potential in these fields. We cite the history of the evolution of Kshara-Sutra therapy to justify our argument. Further, we delve into the issue of prospective and retrospective applicability of the said notification and suggest a few options that the Ministry of AYUSH may consider to resolve this issue. We conclude by saying that well-trained Ayurveda surgeons must be allowed to practice surgery, but at the same time, a blanket license to all Shalya-Shalakya postgraduate degree holders to practice surgery without ensuring their actual clinical training would be unreasonable.
Patwardhan K, Kumar M. Surgical practice and Ayurveda: A realistic analysis of the current debate. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2021 Jan 28:S0975-9476(20)30142-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jaim.2020.12.008. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33518387.