Vanishing Siddha system but thriving Siddha institutions….know the truth

Do ‘Parambaryam’ (tradition) ever suffer due to the advent of ‘Gurukulam’ (institutionalization)? Most might say it would not, but the truth is different.

Siddha system has evolved only as traditional practice where the ‘knowledge tradition’ got transferred from father to son and then to grand son and so on and so forth. Such family of Siddha practitioners is called ‘Vaidhya Parambara’ (Vaidya family/clan) and such people are referred mostly as ‘vaidhyas’ than by their name.

In strict sense, the Siddha practitioners are ‘Siddha/chitta vaidhyars’. The British India rulers when attempted to promote and popularize the allopathic medicine otherwise called as western medicine to save the ailing humanity, the vaidhyas protested and demanded the ancient tradition of Tamil Nadu also must be preserved and protected.

To bring sharper focus and popularization and also to welcome more people to study Siddha system, the curriculum of Siddha was institutionalized or the Gurukulum concept of education of Siddha system from parambarya method was introduced.   The noble idea of the Government was that institutionalization would help many aspiring people to learn Siddha system and other wise the system would in due course of time will get imprisoned in some families and may disappear forever.

After institutionalization, naturally the system has to be marketed and only then the institutions that offer such courses will get students to study Siddha system.

One of the easiest and best ways of marketing the system was to get an equal status to the system at par with western medicine/allopathic system. Interestingly the Government not only gave equal status but independent status also to the Siddha system. Progressively, some Siddha practitioners appear to have merged both the independent and equal status of Siddha and equalized the system with allopathic system of medicine. They did not stop with the above either. They further assumed that they have equal competency both in Siddha and allopathic system as well and hence have the right to prescribe allopathic medicines. Perhaps that is how some may be prescribing allopathic drugs.

The reason being is that, the Siddha graduates also studied 5 year course in Siddha – BSMS similar to MBBS. Only difference some Siddha graduates might have felt between these two courses was instead of two B’s in MBBS, in BSMS, they have two S’s and nothing else. Therefore, there is nothing wrong in replacing one S with a B. Thus some Siddha practitioners have metamorphosed from BSMS to MBBS, narrated one Siddha follower.

 

The fundamental approach and philosophy of both systems are totally and completely different. If we study mutation or chromosomal aberration in genetics, we can understand the fact that only one small change/re-arrangement in the genetic sequence would have happened but the consequences are far reaching – called genetic mutation.

Government of India and State Government of Tamil Nadu, the respective health Ministries, the Health Secretaries, CCIM, AYUSH, CCRS etc., must realize the above truth.

Government has institutionalized the Siddha system of education, created a separate council, and created AYUSH, the CCRS, a separate institution – NIS etc., only to promote Siddha system and not to generate BSMS and MD graduates in Siddha to prescribe allopathic drugs. If it is allowed, why do we need MBBS course?

Both Siddha and allopathic system are needed for humanity. Those who have studied Siddha course for 5 years and have got some exposure in modern science when claim their competency in modern medicine, why the same level of competency, pride and prestige they don’t hold in Siddha system that they have studied for 5 years? Asked Dr Abdul Abbas, MD-Siddha?

Is it due to the fact that Siddha system do not have great treatment value to patients, said Dr Abdul Abbas? If so, who should be blamed? Time has come, the Siddha system should wisely be re-classified as health and relief centric system than curative system or as Medical Science.

Only the institutionalization of Siddha system has adversely affected the system therefore the purpose and spirit of institutionalization of Siddha curriculum must be respected.

 

Dr Ranganathan

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