“Human civilization has evolved over many millenniums by asking questions and seeking answers. This process of questioning and seeking solutions lies at the heart of research. Without this quest for deeper understanding of the world around us, no human progress is possible. Research and innovation make us grow. They transform the world we inhabit.
In fact, this attitude of researching must become integral to our education system. Children and young adults must be encouraged to ask questions and search for answers. The Indian word for education is "Vidya".
This means, literally, "knowing what it is". Please note that the emphasis is on "knowing" not on being "taught" what it is. The learners must become active explorers, researchers who try to find out the truth.
The quality of research is an important indicator of the quality of an educational system.
The quality of research in a country's resource institutions determines the pace of a country's development. Posing relevant questions and seeking answers must be a way of life.
If we want to transform our country into a knowledge economy, into a country that harnesses the power of knowledge to transform people's lives, we must focus more sharply on research. Research is the springboard of human progress. It is the launch pad for a nation's development trajectory. But research must be translated into development.
An integrated approach to healthcare issues is at the core of our approach, putting to effective use all systems of medicine for the benefit of the people. Indian is very strong in various systems of medicine, which are now being acknowledged as effective alternatives to allopaty.
Talking of this integrated approach, I am reminded of the contributions of our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to laying foundations of science and technology in our country. We have observed his Death Anniversary yesterday. I pay my tributes to him.
Nehru strongly felt that integration of science and technology with national planning was necessary to improve the socio-economic conditions of the teeming millions of people of our country.
Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, wasthe first Vice-President of CSIR in the Independent India.
CSIR has also instituted a special fellowship as a tribute namely, "DR. SHYAMA PRASAD MUKHERJEE (SPM) FELLOWSHIP" to commemorate the birth centenary year (2000).
Every religion is a body of values and moral prescriptions for its followers to abide by. In the absence of this ‘disciplining force’ and ‘code of conduct’, it would be difficult to enforce ‘social order’ on such a larger scale.
Scientific advancements in their wake have brought certain challenges to human kind like nuclear warfare, biological weapons, other means of mass destruction and serious issues of pollution and climate change. But this is no ground to discard science and scientific quest.
Scientific advancements may illuminate our understanding of the universe. But it is the religion which provides answers to the unexplored universe. The issues of ‘mind and soul’ and the relentless internal unrest and lack of internal peace constitute this vast unexplored universe. It is the religion which provides some answers to these raging issues.
Nehru’s outlook may make him ‘agnostic’ and some may even call him an ‘atheist’. While I pay my tributes to Nehru for promoting the cause of science and scientific spirit, I beg to differ him in the matters of religion and its utility for humanity.
I feel that both science and religion are the tools in the hands of the people in their quest for prosperity and internal peace.
I am indeed delighted to visit the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine and interact with scientists, students, staff of this institution and eminent citizens from Jammu region.
I am pleased to learn that this is one of the oldest scientific institutions in our country. Set up in 1941, it has been playing a leading role in promoting scientific and economic growth of our country. In fact, was the first translational institute of drug development from natural resources established in the country as Drug Research Laboratory (DRL) under the aegis of Jammu & Kashmir Government. Col. Sir Ram Nath Chopra who was instrumental in conceptualizing DRL as a research and manufacturing unit, was its founder head.
I am told that the research undertaken by DRL was liberally supported by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Based on the research output of DRL, the manufacturing section was developed into an independent commercial unit.
I am glad to note that as a research laboratory, DRL was the first to give the concept of captive cultivation. It was also the first institute to isolate active principals from indigenous medicinal plants and work on pharmacological activity in lab animals. I am told that it carried out detailed clinical studies on important Indian medicinal plants in connection with hypertension, skin disorders and GI disorders.
As we all know, science has played a major role in the growth of our great nation and the remarkable achievements in the areas of affordable medicine, food security, milk production, space, atomic energy and Information Technology, among others, are a testimony to this fact. India is amongst the leading nations in space and IT. It is pertinent to mention here that the founder of this Institute, Sir Ram Nath Chopra played a major role in formulation of Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules of Independent India. He was instrumental in creating an integrated medicine discipline to bring the knowledge of Ayurveda and other traditional systems of medicines to modern medicine, thereby ensuring global recognition to this ancient Indian knowledge.
After India attained independence, DRL was formally taken over by CSIR in December, 1957 and renamed as Regional Research Laboratory.
I am happy to note that the laboratory had widened its research initiatives which included Biological Sciences, Chemical Sciences and Technological sciences (Food, Fur & Wool, Surface Coating and Paper cellulose pulp). I am aware that the mandate of Institute was redefined and its name changed to Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) in 2007, keeping in view its core strength in natural products based drug discovery,
Various achievements of erstwhile RRL over the past many years are commendable like introduction of mint in India in 1958. Currently this crop is under cultivation in 2 lakh hectares with an annual turnover of Rs. 4000 crores. The other laudable initiatives include introduction of Hops in India to meet the demand of domestic brewery industry; introduction of lavender and rose as high value commercial crops in Jammu & Kashmir in an area of 300 hectares thereby creating employment for more than 9000 people.
I am told that through scientific validation of traditional ayurvedic medicines, the laboratory has developed drugs namely, Risorine (Anti TB), Sallaki (Rheumatoid Arthritis), LIVZON &Liv-1 (hepatoprotective) and Imminex (Immuno-modulator) etc. Also fermentation technologies developed by the Institute were transferred to a number of industries for the production of gluconate salts, bio-fertilizers and bio control agents.
I am very pleased to learn that the Institute along with other CSIR labs has taken up three major national initiatives--Aroma Mission: This mission aims to bring more than 5000 hectares of additional area under captive cultivation of aromatic cash crops particularly targeting rain-fed /degraded land across the country. It also seeks to provide technical and infrastructure support for distillation and value-addition to farmers/growers all over the country, apart from enabling effective buy-back mechanisms to assure remunerative prices to the farmers/growers. I am happy that it envisages to provide value-addition to essential oils and aroma ingredients for their integration in global trade and economy.
I am equally pleased to know that the Phytopharma Mission aims at developing plant-based medicines using Ayurveda concepts and positioning Ayurveda medicines, including high-valued, endangered and threatened medicinal plant species, through multi-target approach and pharmacology network.
The third mission, Sickle cell Anemia Mission aims at drug discovery and development of new pre-clinical candidates for Sickle cell Anemia using indigenous plants.
I am pleased to note that Institute is also playing a major role in supporting drug regulatory system of India. The availability of WHO compliant cGMP plant for extraction and formulation of herbal medicines, NABL accredited Quality control & Quality assurance facility, Drug Testing Laboratory, GLP standard animal house, recognition of IIIM as Central Drug Lab for Botanicals & Phytopharmaceutical drugs by DCG(I) and referral lab by FASSI provides the right kind of ecosystem for this.
I am glad that the Institute has started a Technology Business Incubator with the objective of creating jobs and entrepreneurship development for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir and create the right eco-system for startup companies by utilizing the rich bio resources of J&K. I am happy to note that a number of startups within the IIIM campus are currently incubating under this initiative, which is being supported by the Department of Science &Technology.
It is heartening to know that Institute has very robust drug pipeline in the areas of Oncology, Arthritis, Liver protection, Tuberculosis, Alzheimer’s and Peptic ulcers I am also glad that it is helping the J & K science and Technology department in establishing Industrial Bio-tech parks in this beautiful State.
We must be willing to have dialogue with Pakistan but it must give up policy of supporting, aiding, abetting, training terror. Zero tolerance on matters of National security and unity.
Pakistan must honour the commitment of mot allowing its territory to be used for training terror.
Peace is prerequisite for progress. If we have tension at border we cannot pay attention on developmental activities. Benefits of developmental activities worth one lakh crore being spent by the Centre/State must reach people.
Finally, before concluding, I would like you to bestow more attention on diabetes and on diseases such as malaria, chikungunya and dengue so that a large number of people get benefited from your research on drug discovery.