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Indian doctors will NOT be taught how to deal with ghosts, contrary to BBC headline

Indian doctors will NOT be taught how to deal with ghosts, contrary to BBC headline
From January, one of India’s most prominent medical schools will offer courses on a subset of traditional medicine. However, despite a recent BBC claim, doctors will not be taught to deal with claims of ghostly possession.

On Thursday, the Beeb ran a story on the new six-month course from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU). The Varanasi-based university “is offering a certificate course to teach doctors how to treat people who claim to see or be possessed by ghosts”, the report said.

A reader would have to continue beyond the clickbait headline to learn that the ‘Bhoot Vidya’ course is about psychosomatic disorders and therapy rather than paranormal activity. One of eight principle branches of traditional Ayurveda medicine, Bhuta Vidya suggests remedies to ailments like psychosomatic disorders whose causes are not obvious. Ayurveda’s other branches focus on things like midwifery, trauma surgery, longevity and infectious diseases.

There is, of course, no shortage of people questioning whether any part of Ayurveda has a place in a modern medical university at all.

Others pointed out that, while advanced pharmacology may have an advantage in treating severe mental conditions, plenty of things invented in India have become widely accepted as a means of improving wellbeing – like yoga and meditation.

According to Professor Yamini Bhusan Tripathi, the dean of the Ayurveda department at the BHU, he and his colleagues are studying solutions offered in ancient texts to see if they have a scientifically measurable effect.

The Bhuta Vidya courses are relatively small; a group of 10 students will be taking them for a fee of about $700.

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