Tag Archives: bio-piracy

Ten thousand years worth of knowledge – for the taking

Sohan Giri

I read a facebook post  which is an excerpt from a story by Babu Rampuri. In this story  Sohan Giri jokingly accuses the narrator of taking ancient knowledge and give nothing in return. The narrator sees that despite being a joke, this is actually true:

Although this was just a joke, which the other young sadhus around the dhuni were enjoying, I had to admit that he was right. I just walk in, and because I’m a white boy, and logic and experience dictate that probably there is some money somewhere, the streets of Am-rika are paved with gold (or at least gold-plated), and because of my privilege, I presume that ten thousand years of secret knowledge should simply be handed over to me just for the asking.

This made me think, we should never cease to be grateful that the tens of thousands of years of wisdom which is encompassed in Hinduism is not secret, and for the most part is handed over just for the asking.

It also made me think about how we repay this. For the most part it is with thanks and respect, but unfortunately it is not always so.

Yoga instructors have been allowed to claim copyright on yoga postures that are thousands of years old. Similarly ayurvedic medicines have been patented. This is not just being ungrateful for what has been given freely, but turning round and using the legal system and international patent agreements to say “now you have to pay us to use it”. Continue reading