Nutrition for the nation
India has been facing critical health challenges, even prior to the pandemic, whereby lack of clean air, potable water, and nutritious food has caused a rise in diseases among the population—a majority of whom do not have access to quality and affordable healthcare. In the wake of these persisting problems and to mark the National Nutrition Week, Integrated Health and Well-being Council (a non-profit organisation engaged in the health and well-being sector) organised a mega Virtual Bharat Nutrition Week 2020 from the 1st to the 7th of September 2020. The multi-stakeholder digital event hosted panel discussions with around 100 speakers—including government officials of various ministries and institutions; policy experts of WHO and UNICEF; and industry leaders, researchers, and medical practitioners —to discuss the varying aspects of preventive, promotive, and curative healthcare and offer solutions for holistic health which is defined by the way we live, think, move, and consume.
Mr Kamal Narayan Omer, CEO, IHW Council, commenced the virtual conclave by stressing on the importance of nutrition for the sustenance of a youthful nation like India. He said, “In the past decade and a half, we have noticed a new trend of nutritional imbalance in India, especially in urban areas where people are contracting diseases by taking wrong nutrition rich in refined components like sugar, salt, and harmful fats. India’s rank in the Global Hunger Index indicates how prevalent malnutrition is in the country. The ‘Bharat Nutrition Week’ aims at securing and ensuring access to good food for all.” India has a staggering number of both undernourished and overnourished children and adults, and nearly one-third of the diseases can be controlled with a proper diet.
Shri Ramdas Athawale, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, along with other inaugural panellists, discussed the nutrition movement and ways to strengthen its commitment towards a Poshan Yukta Bharat. He spoke about the government initiative, ‘Poshan Abhiyan’, which aims to directly address the nutritional behaviour of the masses through community-based programmes in remote areas of the country. Discussion forums involving leading dieticians, nutritionists, food entrepreneurs, and influencers were held, aiming to nudge food businesses to reformulate their products and provide better nutritional information to consumers. Also, special live sessions hosted celebrity chefs sharing interesting recipes. To achieve better results, the conference involved sessions addressing a wide spectrum of nutritional deficits in India.
To raise awareness around nutrition among children, IHW Council had a special segment titled ‘Bharat Nutrition Quiz Show with School Kids,’ where students from all over India participated. The event concluded with ‘Bharat Nutrition Awards’ honouring organisations, institutions, and individuals for their contribution in the field of nutrition.
A dog is a man’s best friend. Many people adopt them as pets and treat them as part of their own family. However, most people in our country prefer to own foreign dog breeds due to their looks, characteristics, skills, and popularity.
Recently, the prime minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi, addressed the issue of adopting native Indian dog breeds in his monthly radio address ‘Mann ki Baat.’ As a part of the initiative ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat,’ the PM encouraged the citizens of the nation to adopt native Indian dogs over foreign breeds. “I have been told that Indian breed dogs are very good and capable. Among the Indian breeds, the Mudhol Hound and the Himachali Hound are of excellent pedigree. Rajapalayam, Kanni, Chippiparai, and Combai are also fabulous Indian breeds. They cost less to raise and are better adapted to the Indian environment and surroundings.”
Keeping this in mind, we have curated a list of some lesser-known yet absolutely beautiful, native Indian dog breeds that can give all the exotic breeds a run for their money:
Rajapalayam: These are large, milky-white dogs with lean and muscular bodies, used predominantly for hunting.
Bakharwal: An ancient breed of working dogs found in the Himalayas, they are heavily built with a fluffy coat and are best suited for the colder parts of the country.
Bully Kutta: Known as the Indian Mastiff, they are mostly trained in hunting and patrolling, and are found in parts of northern India.
Mudhol Hound: Known for their elegant gait and sharp muscular appearance, these dogs are used for hunting and guarding.
Chippiparai and Kanni: These two dogs from Tamil Nadu are known for their hunting abilities and fierce loyalty. They are wonderful watchdogs.
Gaddi Kutta: Commonly known as the Himachali Hounds, these mountain dogs are used by local shepherds for protection and hunting.
Combai: These tan-coloured dogs are extremely energetic, powerful, intelligent, and friendly at the same time. They are known for their perseverance and loyalty.
There are many more types of native Indian breeds about whom you can find out on the Internet or through local adoption centres. Adopting an Indian breed will not only help them get a permanent home brimming with love and compassion but will also save them from getting extinct. So, consider adopting them, the next time you plan on owning a dog over a popular foreign breed and save them from disappearing from the face of the Earth.
Learning Shlokas in 2020
All ayurveda colleges teach their students from translated works instead of original Sanskrit texts. However, there is always the possibility of losing finer nuances in translation. Before our education system was changed during the British era, the teacher would read from original texts and then explain to their pupils. There were notable merits in the oral tradition of imparting knowledge compressed in the form of a poem; one of them would be that it sticks in the memory for a long time.
To give a glimpse of how the oral tradition worked and how we can revive the reciting and learning of shlokas from original sources for new students of ayurveda and siddha medicine, a unique initiative has been started by Ayurveda College, D Y Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune.
The head of department and organiser, Dr Joshi, explains the entire process. He says, “We have in-depth knowledge that is preserved in the form of shlokas, or poetry, which is as old as 5000 years and, in most cases, is still relevant in today’s time.”
Every year in the Hindu calendar month of Shravan, the ayurveda department organises a programme where approximately 100 students recite together 10-12 shlokas from the ‘Mool Granth’ (Original Source) of ‘Charaka Samhita’ or ‘Sushruta Samhita’. In the break after the recitation, veterans of ayurveda come and explain a few of the recited shlokas and how the treatise mentioned in the shlokas is used. They share their first-hand experience of healing as well as case studies to enlighten the students. Students too are encouraged to voice their opinion and ask questions on the subject being discussed. Opposing views on modern and ancient healing systems are also included in the discussion to ensure the holistic development of the students in the programme.
Every year, a specific topic is chosen for discussion and delved deep into to help budding students gain significant insights. Students can participate physically as well as online, and the forum is open even to laymen. Foreign students as well as students from other colleges can participate, and an e-certificate is presented at the end of the programme.
Besides discussing traditional ways of healing, topics are also critically evaluated from the modern medical perspective as well. For medical science to be holistic, it has to have the wings of modern medical practice and its roots in ancient tradition.
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