New Delhi: Yoga and Ayurveda not only have a global fan following, they also have a ministry of their own now, after the expansion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Council of Ministers on Sunday.
India now has a dedicated ministry for the promotion of traditional medicine and yoga called AAYUSH, which was earlier part of the Health Ministry. The acronym stands for Ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and homeopathy. (PM Modi Now Has a Minister for Yoga, Ayurveda)
Shripad Yesso Naik, who was earlier the Minister of State of Tourism and Culture with Independent Charge, has taken charge of the new ministry amid much curiosity over what exactly his portfolio entails.
Speaking to NDTV, Mr Naik said, "AAYUSH means a way of medicine that belongs to India. After (the) British came to India, they suppressed Indian medicine and tried to foist Allopathy on us, that's why it (traditional medicine) could not be promoted."
There may be skepticism over the efficacy of such a ministry, but it's in keeping with PM Modi's focus on yoga.
During his very first address at the United Nations General Assembly, PM Modi not only urged more people to practice yoga, but even suggested observing an International Yoga Day.
Mr. Naik told NDTV he practices yoga every day. "I do yoga everyday and I prefer Ayurveda," he said, adding, "It's a subject I like and because of that, I have probably been given this ministry."
The 'yoga ministry', as some have dubbed the new portfolio, certainly has everyone's attention. The question now is, can it 'levitate' to dispel the doubts arising from believers of modern medicine?