India is embarking on an ambitious project to translate ancient Sanskrit scriptures in five foreign languages and send them to patent offices globally to prevent blatant commercial misuse of traditional Indian knowledge such as yoga in the US and other countries.
The department of Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, Unani, siddha and homoeopathy (Ayush) has engaged top institutes such as the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga and Kewal Dham of Pune to translate Sanskrit slokas describing yogic asanas into English, French and German, among other languages.
“Traditional Knowledge Resource Classification software, being used for translation, will also include video footage demonstrating yoga postures,” an official said. In the first phase, to be completed by December this year, work on 150 asanas will be completed. The plan is to cover 1,500 most commonly used kriyas and asanas.
Work on a digital library of other traditional systems of medicines such as Ayurveda, Unani and siddha has been completed. Over 1.2 lakh medicinal formulations have been digitized.
“Discussions are on with patent offices of the European Union, the US and Japan on the modalities for sharing this library on traditional knowledge,” a government official said.
Once these patent offices have been given the database, they will not grant any patent on anything already documented as traditional knowledge.
Taking a strong view of grant of patents to yoga asanas in the US, the government has already asked its mission in Washington to take up the matter with the American authorities.
The department of Ayush in the health ministry has written to the department of industrial and policy promotion under the commerce ministry on the issue, which has, in turn, brought the matter to the notice of the Indian mission in Washington to be taken up with the US trade representative. PTI