Loss of Culture: An Overlooked Danger

Loss Of Culture: An Overlooked Danger – Anubhav Singh

We live in an era were everything is questioned on the grounds of science and logic. It is good when limited to things where necessary, but when it comes to tradition this is being used to destroy us or rather steal from us what we have. Basically tradition of India is what represents us and there have been constant attempts to steal what we have and these attempts are still going on. It is not exaggeration of facts rather something which will be supported further with reasonable examples.

Its quite known how cultural practices like Yoga and Ayurveda are questioned generally. While Yoga is being mocked and even being claimed as something that originated in 20th century, there are also claims that Yoga is a mix-match of cultural practices from many religions and after all this Hindus claiming that Yoga is not Hindu make is worse. Ayurveda on the other hand is being claimed to be pseudoscience by people all around the world.

Though most Hindus think that it is just an attack on Hinduism by haters, its true but it has another purpose which is stealing our soft power. And the country which ranks at first position in this is none other than the USA. There are many such examples but to keep it short here are three remarkably surprising ones.

Attempt to steal Yoga

While yoga is less important here for and even mocked its trend keeps to grow in the west. But the effects of it are that there are applications claiming patent on yoga poses ! Yes it is true this is happening all around the west with the United States alone having 130 yoga related patents with 150 copyrights and about 2300 trademarks. This basically means that Yoga has become an American invention. Though the government did set a team to identify yoga poses and claim them back but is it really going to work ? Won’t a slight change in a pose make it a unique pose and worth patent ? Even if we manage to get back every patent one by one then one case alone takes many years to resolve practically its not possible for us to get its back. Fault here is definitely our who never claim our what is ours. Even today these ‘patent robbers’ continue their work and we claim that its not Hindu at all. The trend suggests that in a few decades Yoga will be popular as an ‘American’ thing.

Patent on use of Turmeric

Medicinal properties of Turmeric are well known to all, one does not need to study Ayurveda for it as it is something basic rooted deep down in our culture. Its a basic home remedy in India used commonly as a food ingredient but also as a blood purifier, in treatment of common cold and also sometimes in treatment of infections.

Now surprisingly in 1995 there a patent awarded to University of Mississippi medical center for finding wound healing property in turmeric. The Subjects experts claimed to use ‘turmeric powder’ and were even given an exclusive right to sell and distribute. If you tell to any Indian that its a modern discovery they would be surprised at it for sure.

Patent on Neem 

In my personal opinion it is known to everyone in India, Neem is a very common medicine used for vast number of purposes, not since now but thousands of years. And of course there has been a patent attempt on this as well. The patent on Neem was filed by WR Grace and the Department of Agriculture in the USA  in European patent office. The claim made by WR Grace was that he has discovered medicinal properties in Neem and also discovered that fungi on plants can be controlled with help of Neem (by bringing in contact with Neem oil to be specific). In this Case there was a legal opposition from India. The patent was won back but it was not that easy. It was a a battle of 10 years.

Now just think it took 10 years to win something back which is ours already. And these patents were filed in a time when Ayurveda was not as popular as now. While in India Ayurveda is at decline in Europe it continues to grow exponentially. Imagine how many applications must be out there right now and how many which we might not even be aware of. Even if in for a fight can we fight for every patent for 10 years ?

No, We all know we are not capable of that. There have been patents even for other medicines and even for something as small as Basmati Rice, this one was done by a company ‘RiceTec’ in USA and we don’t even know how many other such companies are claiming ownership over what. So is it not the time for us to claim what is ours rather than act liberal and say this or that ‘is not Hindu’.

~Anubhav Singh