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Oral and Textual Traditions

The rich inheritance of Ayurveda has been preserved for posterity in the form of oral and textual traditions, which have not been completely documented.

PADAM (Program for Archiving and Documenting Ayurvedic Medicine) is an initiative to profile the extant oral traditions of Ayurveda in the state of Kerala through field surverys, interviews and the like.

PADAM is also working towards preservation and study of medical manuscripts that lie scattered in various locations.

An archive of 100 hours of video has already been created based on the field research done and work is underway to publish the transcripts of interviews with traditional physicians. The raw footage is also being edited to make short films on specific themes.

Ethnographic research in Kerala has focussed on profiling living traditions of Ayurveda representing specialties of Ophthalmology, Pediatrics, Toxicology, Psychiatry and the like. Traditional methods of education have also been profiled.

Efforts have also been made through the PADAM Program to locate, digitize and catalogue rare medical manuscripts. The entire collection of medical manuscripts preserved in the Calicut University have been digitized and a digital library will soon become online for scholars.

A software has been developed to transcribe and translate the digitized manuscripts so as to facilitate publishing of rare works.

The PADAM program is also promoting critical editing of classical texts so as to ensure the availability of authentic readings of these texts.

For more information on the PADAM program, click here.