Day 21 – Q 2. Should educational institutions be mandated to impart traditional knowledge in the field of medicine, astronomy and general science? Critically comment. 

  • IASbaba
  • July 3, 2020
  • 0
GS 1, Indian Society, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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2. Should educational institutions be mandated to impart traditional knowledge in the field of medicine, astronomy and general science? Critically comment. 

क्या शैक्षणिक संस्थानों को चिकित्सा, खगोल विज्ञान और सामान्य विज्ञान के क्षेत्र में पारंपरिक ज्ञान प्रदान करने के लिए बाध्य किया जाना चाहिए? समालोचनात्मक टिप्पणी करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to write about importance of traditional knowledge. Students should also write about both aspects of whether to mandate imparting of traditional knowledge in educational institutions or not.


On 21st June, world celebrated ‘Yoga Day’; yoga is part of India’s traditional knowledge about medicine and life. India has a very rich and diverse treasure of traditional knowledge; though India intends to share it with the world there are concerns over little or no efforts to pass this knowledge to future generations of India.


Mandating educational institutions to impart traditional knowledge has following benefits:

  • Help students realize the richness of traditional knowledge and generate curiosity about its real life applications. E.g.: Charak Samita in Medicine, Aryabhattiya on astronomy and mathematics, etc.
  • Make traditional knowledge sustainable which not only benefits current generation but also the future generation by passing on time tested wisdom. 
  • Benefits student’s intellect and mental peace as Indian traditional knowledge is mixture of material and spiritual world.
  • Knowing true essence of traditional knowledge will boost confidence of Indian students. Currently, there is a feeling of inferiority about traditional knowledge which cascades into India’s approach in global affairs. 
  • It will encourage innovation and research, boost startups based on traditional knowledge.
  • Help in fulfilling constitutional duty of Indians with scientific temper
  • It will help in updating traditional knowledge with the latest studies in science and make it more relevant. E.g.: Quantum physics, gravitational waves, etc.
  • Assist in devising environmental friendly agricultural techniques. Compost, green manure, neem coated urea, etc.
  • The importance given to environment in traditional knowledge will help in conservation and achieving climate mitigation goals. It will bring students close to nature and generate appreciation and awareness.

However, there are few concerns in imparting traditional knowledge via educational institutions:

  • Including traditional knowledge in curriculum without proper evaluation will harm progress of traditional knowledge and students.
  • Rigid religious motives in imparting traditional knowledge will cause divide in society and rob society of true benefit from traditional knowledge.
  • Forcing ill-prepared syllabus on students will discourage students in continuing with traditional subjects.
  • There should not be undue conflict between traditional and upcoming latest knowledge, any rational conflict should be resolved scientifically.
  • It should also accommodate scientific knowledge of tribes.

Government of India has taken steps to promote traditional knowledge:

  • AYUSH Ministry to encourage and initiate scientific studies in India’s ancient medical practices. India was able to convince world about efficacy of yoga via empirical evidence.
  • Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a pioneering Indian initiative to prevent exploitation and to protect Indian traditional knowledge from wrongful patents.


Thus, need to conserve and pass on traditional knowledge to coming generations and the world at large so that India emerges as ‘Atma Nirbhar’ and ‘Jagat Guru’.

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