Will Director Dr Partap Chauhan’s focus on the global market and other forays like ayurvedic telemedicine succeed in achieving revenue of Rs 75 crores this year? By Usha Sharma
Nearly 30 km away from Indian capital city, Jiva Ayurveda, located in Faridabad near New Delhi, was founded with the mission of ‘taking Ayurveda to every home.’ Its main centre in Faridabad is well equipped to provide a range of Ayurvedic treatments to help people stay healthy and seek a permanent and effective cure against diseases. The name ‘Jiva’ itself explains its existence and the company’s core objectives.
Replying to why the founders decided to call the company ‘Jiva’, Dr Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda, an Ayurvedic doctor with an unique distinction of studying Ayurveda through the modern system of university education and the traditional system of a guru-shishya parampara briefs, “The name Jiva comes from the Sanskrit word Jiv which means life or living entity. Jiva is dedicated to the cause of humanity and so the name was chosen.” He had a keen desire to establish the authentic practice of Ayurveda and to make it affordable and accessible to bring it to every home around the world.
History at a glance
In early 1982, the concept of starting Ayurveda clinics was conceptualised when Rishi Pal Chauhan, the present Chairman and Managing Director of Jiva, realised that the society was moving in a new direction and needed some traditional medicine blended with modern technology. At that point of time, he was unaware on how to action it further. Later, he himself along with his two brothers, Dr Satyanarayan Dasa and Dr Partap Chauhan, who always believed that traditional Indian arts and sciences can help people live more balanced and holistic lives, decided to set up a company. The concept got a boost when his younger brother Dr Satyanarayan Dasa, an M Tech. from IIT Delhi, visited the US around the same time to pursue a professional career. He realised that the west may have become an economic superpower but the society is still suffering from emotional and spiritual distress. He returned back to India in 1983 to gain a deeper understanding of life. In 1992, the family decided to set up its own Ayurvedic centre in Faridabad and started working from their residence.
Rishi Pal Chauhan’s vision and mission to create a healthy life lead both his brothers to move in that direction. Recalling erstwhile days, Rishi Pal narrates, “Steven Rudolph, an American educationalist and a founder-director of Jiva, met me while he was working in the US. He got inspired by the idea and the vision of Jiva and dedicated himself to the cause. He wanted to create a holistic and value-drive education system that enabled children to not only excel academically, but also provide important tools of life and values to live a happier, and thus joined the company.”
In 1994, Jiva established to work in three areas: Education, Health and Culture. The common thread that connected all three areas was to create a society that was happier, healthier and peaceful.
While explaining the need for Ayurveda clinics, he says, “While the advancements in economy and technology have led to the improvement of physical comforts, it has also resulted in problems in other areas. So by bringing together the knowledge of holistic living and well-being from the east and the advancements and technologies from the west, a great balance can be reached. And to fulfil this, the founders of Jiva created an organisation which helped people in achieving this balance.”
Need of Ayurveda
Today, the world has recognised the need and urgency of alternate medicines. Ayurveda is considered as the most holistic health system in the world. It not only deals with the physical well-being, but also concerned with mental and emotional well being. Ancient Ayurvedic texts mention its objective as curing people who suffer from diseases.
Commenting on Jiva’s expertise and practising Ayurveda against other methods of treatment, Dr Partap Chauhan says, “With modernisation and the increased pace of life, our habits are changing. Since Ayurveda offers a holistic life solution, it is better suited to help tackle the problems we face today and resolve them from the root rather than providing superficial and symptomatic relief only. By bringing Ayurveda to every home, the goal of creating a healthier, happier society can be reached. That was the reason for practising Ayurveda.”
He further says, “When we started out, Ayurveda was not the choice of treatment and in most cases the last resort. Jiva has created a lot of awareness to help people understand the science behind Ayurveda, to demystify the principles of Ayurveda. This has helped tremendously in increasing the faith and credibility that people place in it. Lately, people have started realising that a more holistic, natural and Ayurvedic approach is a must if health in its true sense needs to be maintained. We will continue our efforts so Ayurveda becomes the treatment of choice for diseases in which it shows remarkable relief.”
Though, Ayurveda is the oldest method of treatment , it has been laggard in presenting proof to the globe. Suggesting to make the world more confident and reliable to the Indian origin Ayurveda medicines, Dr Partap Chauhan says, “The entire world is increasingly becoming more interested in Ayurveda. The more we are able to explain and show documented evidence of Ayurveda, the more acceptability and credibility increases.”
Threat from western world
It is ironic that the western world is eager to gain the knowledge of Ayurveda and patent it.
Commenting on the foreseeing challenge, Rishi Pal Chauhan says, “Anyone is welcome to learn Ayurveda and apply it in their markets. There is no question of competition in that sense. It does not help to restrict knowledge. However, what needs to be done is to protect knowledge of Ayurveda being distorted or being used without crediting Ayurveda with it. There was a huge concern with some international companies/organisations trying to patent the ingredients that Ayurveda has used for centuries.”
Finding out the solution, he suggests, “We need to work together with the international scientific and medical community to conduct more researches in Ayurveda and its fundamental principles. There needs to be a collaborative approach where common terminologies and equivalents can be arrived at to explain Ayurveda to the modern world. Integration is going to be the key in future, but for it to happen, people from both fields of sciences need to understand the modern medical science as well as Ayurveda.”
While sharing the success, he says, “The government has undertaken the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) project and today it’s used successfully to defend the traditional knowledge systems of India without limiting the usage of them. I think this is a great example where the government has worked with bodies and governments internationally to protect ayurvedic knowledge without limiting its use.”
In earlier days, individual vaidyas used to perform the role of doctors and the need for research was not the primary concern. This led to very limited data and eco-system available for conducting such research. That has been one of the reasons why Jiva has also followed sound data and documentation practices, enabling to power various analytical and research-based projects. With passing time, people became more inclined to technologies and started opting for modern treatment methods over the traditional ones. It eventually resulted in less research being conducted in the Ayurveda.
Commenting on why there has been less research in Ayurveda, Dr Partap Chauhan says, “There are multiple reasons for limited research in Ayurveda, the foremost being not much efforts to mainstream of Ayurveda as a credible treatment science with the scientific community and lack of infrastructure and resources at Ayurvedic colleges and universities to conduct such research.”
- 1995: Established the world’s first Ayurvedic health centre on the Internet, which received more than 5000 visitors daily
- 1996: The world’s first Ayurvedic correspondence courses being run via the Internet. Interactions take place through the World Wide Web, Internet relay chat, and e-mail. Students including doctors, nurses and Ayurveda enthusiasts take courses from countries such as France, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Latvia, Switzerland, Spain and Estonia
- 1997: World Summit Award for ‘TeleDoc’ project given by United Nations in Geneva
- 2006: Conducted world’s first Ayurvedic video conference at VSNL Studio in New Delhi at the University of Gavle, Sweden to preach its students about Vedic Sciences and Culture
- 2007: Ayurvedic tele-medicine centre in Faridabad was started catering to the problems of thousands of people nationally and internationally
He suggests, “To uplift the industry in future, a strong emphasis should be given to practical research at all colleges and universities in Ayurveda. Research institutes and industry should come together so that relevant information sharing can take place. The government wants to put a special emphasis on the need to conduct more research and setting up institutions of excellence that will undertake such research.”
Realising the need for research and collaborate, Jiva has already put a lot of emphasis on research in the coming years. “We are investing more and more in research with a view to create a considerable ground work on which path-breaking research in Ayurveda can be based. We are following a two-pronged approach for our research projects — one that will enable us to showcase the treatment methodologies and protocols in Ayurveda and the other that will be validate the fundamental principles and concepts of Ayurveda. Both are being undertaken by the Jiva Research wing headed by a top team of scientific researchers, data scientists and ayurvedic physicians,” informs Dr Partap Chauhan.
At Jiva Ayurveda, during consultation each doctor tries to go to the root cause of the problem and prepares a customised prescription. The company is known for preparing customised medicine dosages for patients. According to Ayurveda, each individual is unique, therefore their treatment should also be unique. “We have evolved some best-in-class technology and practices that ensure that while we stay true to our commitment of providing high quality, authentic Ayurvedic treatment, we are also able to constantly monitor patient relief and quality of treatment,” adds Dr Partap Chauhan.
Jiva Ayurveda focuses mainly on diseases that are classified as chronic and lifestyle disorders. There are great treatment options and outcomes that ayurveda has to offer to people suffering from disorders such as diabetes, joint pains, skin disorders, digestive problems, etc. Dr Partap Chauhan explains, “Ayurveda as a treatment science seeks to find and address the root cause of the problem. So two patients with the same problems or complaining of similar symptoms, may be treated differently depending on the root cause of their problem. Authentic Ayurvedic practice is always customised to the patient’s unique prakriti-vikriti (balanced state – unbalance state) and the root cause of the disorder.”
Today, when the world is exploring the tele-medicine area, Jiva had ventured into this sphere way back. Eventually, it started offering medicines through a person, who will identify the problem of patient and play a mediator role and deliver medicine. And it has been dedicated towards helping people understand Ayurveda and how its principles can be applied in their day to day lives.
The Jiva Tele-Medicine Centre was established in 1998 as an integrated centre for tele-health consultation. Today, Jiva has over 400 Ayurvedic doctors and support professionals who have provided consultations to more than one million patients till date across 1800 cities and towns in India. It reaches out to patients who did not have access to good quality medical advice and treatment through it’s tele-medicine practice. The centre in Faridabad is the flagship centre with state-of-the-art infrastructure, which is also its indigenous and based on principles of sustainable design. Jiva has recently opened a tele-medicine centre in Pune and plans to expand further in the southern and eastern regions of the country to provide availability of this facility in regional languages. The centre in Pune will be offering services in Marathi to better cater to the local population in Maharashtra.
Madhusudan Chauhan, Director Business Development, Jiva Ayurveda, informs about the company’s new venture and its relevance in today’s time, “One of the biggest healthcare challenges that the country faces today is the lack of availability of quality doctors and infrastructure to provide treatment services. The scenario gets worse as you move away from major cities towards smaller towns and villages. Second, the incidence of lifestyle and degenerative disorders is growing at a very fast pace. India is one of the largest patient pools in the world for diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, arthritis, etc. Ayurveda is a strong option for treatment of such lifestyle disorders. The challenge was how do we make it accessible to more people. To address this challenge, Jiva started its tele-medicine practice where patients can access their doctor at the convenience of their time and location and have the treatment delivered at their doorstep.”
Today, the company’s tele-medicine practice provides consultation to over 6,000 patients daily who come from more than 1800 cities and town and innumerable villages spread across the length and the breadth of the nation.
With two years away from celebrating its silver jubilee, Jiva has already outlined its corporate plans to add to the celebration. While sharing the company’s corporate plan, Madhusudan Chauhan reveals, “Jiva aims to open 100 Ayurvedic clinics and treatment centres across India in various towns and cities. We will open more tele-medicine centres making the services available in the southern and eastern parts of the country and bring out treatment-based research in Ayurveda. There are plans to establish a university that would encourage people from all over the world to study, perform research and apply Vedic knowledge to a multitude of disciplines-healthcare, business, science, education, and so on. Having successfully carried out many health, educational, and social projects in the past 20 years, the founders are now ready to enter into the most important phase of their work-to establish the Jivagram.”
All these plans will not become successful without the support of manpower and Jiva too believes in it. At present, Jiva Ayurveda is a family of over 800 people across the world dedicated to the cause of bringing authentic Ayurveda to every home. Since people spend their considerable amount of active time at offices and workplaces, Jiva took the initiative to bring health and healthy practices at work and initiated a programme called Ayurcorp. This programme teaches participants appropriate diet, exercises, breathing techniques and life practices that best complement their nature and context. It provides them with tools that will help them integrate simple yet powerful healthy techniques, thereby not only helping them remain healthy but also enhance their productivity at work.
The company has grown manifolds in the last 23 years and continuing it further. Commenting on the company’s financial performance and expectations from the current year, Rishi Pal Chauhan informs, “We are looking at achieving a revenue of Rs 75 crores for the financial year 2015-16 which is approximately 40 per cent growth over previous year.”
Jiva will be moving and create more offerings in the wellness space. As Ayurveda mentions it’s objective to not only cure the people who are suffering from a disease but also to help the healthy retain their health, Jiva is coming out with offerings in the preventive and rejuvenation space.