A moment comes, but comes rather rarely, in the history of an Institution when the routine and hectic activities give way to philosophic contemplation and sober optimism. The year 2002 provided such a juncture to all of us at Arya Vaidya Sala. This Charitable Institution has just completed one hundred years of its fruitful existence; nay, it has just embarked on a new century of hope and optimism. Our illustrious founder, Vaidyaratnam P.S. Varier established the Vaidyasala at Kottakkal in 1902 essentially as a village clinic; but a higher vision was inherent to all his plans and programmes. It has now grown to a multi-unit multi-crore organization with considerable presence in clinical, pharmaceutical, educational and research aspects of Ayurvedic tradition. It is my hope that, during the past half a century, with the support of my fellow members in the Trust Board, administrators, physicians and other employees of AVS, I have been able to do justice in a certain measure to the noble goals set by the Vaidyaratnam and his able successor, the late Aryavaidyan Sri P.M. Varier. And, I am, indeed, confident that my young colleagues will bring in further glory to this noble Institution in the future.
The year-long century celebrations commenced with a three day function in February, 2002 inaugurated by Prof. Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Human Resources Development in the presence of Dr. C.P. Thakur, the then Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare and several other dignitaries and scholars. We consider it a privilege that the 56th Plenary Session of All India Ayurvedic Congress was held at Kottakkal simultaneously. This function was remarkable for different reasons. More than 2000 physicians from different parts of the country attended the proceedings. Senior scholars, professionals and academicians spoke on various aspects of Ayurveda and its contemporary connotations, spread over six Technical Sessions. There was whole-hearted participation from the academic community including a large contingent of students in the ensuing discussions. The Kottakkal citizenry celebrated the event as a festive occasion. The small town of Kottakkal presented a cross-sectional picture of Indian population during those three days. It is a matter of great satisfaction to all of us that the centenary of AVS occasioned the coming together of Ayurvedic professionals in large numbers for deliberating on significant issues at this point of time when the evolving global economic scenario is opening up new vistas of expansion. At the same time, it is understood to have implicit threat of uncertain ramifications.
The Technical Sessions of the Ayurveda Seminar covered subjects of topical interest like life style diseases, clinical studies, drug development and the opportunities and threats faced by traditional healthcare knowledge. Bringing out Seminar Proceedings was not originally planned. However, in response to demand from several corners, we thought it appropriate to print the Proceedings containing as many contributions as possible and to release it during the Valedictory ceremony of the Centenary celebrations, in January, 2003. Time constraint has limited the number of contributions. Similarly, it has not permitted us to attempt to edit the articles to render them uniform in format. But, these articles, just as they are, have a certain amount of spontaneity which add to their readability. They touch upon a wide range of aspects, traditional and modern, pertaining to efforts to enhance the inherent strengths of Ayurveda and allied sciences.
I have great pleasure to place this brief volume in the hands of all the professionals, academicians as also the students, who are concerned about the expansion of the scope and reach of the great Indian healthcare system of Ayurveda.
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