UCA News



Updated: March 25, 2001 05:00 PM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Share this article :

A Catholic official of a communist-led state government in India has enlisted the aid of a Hindu woman spiritual leader to set up a special "health village."

The Holistic Health Village will not only care for poor and elderly people but also attract spiritually inclined tourists, according to Jiji Thomson, managing director of the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation.

Mata Amritanandamayi, a Hindu spiritual leader, is helping set up what Thomson said will be a unique center combining spirituality, meditation, and traditional and modern medicine, using more than 25 health-care systems.

The government corporation began work in Kinalur, in the northern region of the southern state, in February, Thomson told UCA News March 12.

Amritanandamayi, known among her followers as "Amma" (mother), runs several educational institutions, social service centers and hospitals across India. Based in Kerala, she reportedly has some 20 million followers worldwide.

Thomson said the government sought Amritanandamayi´s help since her associates have the technical expertise and manpower to run a center that combines spirituality, medical care and tourism.

Describing Amritanandamayi as "the epitome of all religions," Thomson said that she remains "above all partisan religious and communal feelings" to spread "the philosophy of love and compassion."

The government and Amritanandamayi will have equal shares in the 2.5 billion-rupee (some US$55 million) project being built on 2.7-hectares of land amid hillocks, trees and rivers in Kinalur village.

When completed in 2004, the village will use alternative therapies and holistic techniques to improve spiritual and physical energy, Thomson said.

It will offer treatment based on Indian, Chinese and Tibetan medical systems, allopathy, faith healing, and music and aroma therapies, he said.

Amritanandamayi establishments already offer spiritual and physical therapy that the health village promoters hope will help attract overseas tourists.

In the view of James K. Mathew, a Catholic physician who runs a hospital in the Kerala commercial capital of Kochi, the project "is a great idea" as patients now seek both physical and spiritual treatment.

Swami Amritaswaroop, an Amritanandamayi associate, called the village their "biggest social-service project," as well as their first collaborative effort with government.

He told UCA News that some 100,000 people get free treatment every year at their 925-bed Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi, some 2,565 kilometers south of New Delhi. More than 15,000 children attend their schools.

Amritanandamayi projects have also provided houses for nearly 25,000 families, elderly women and widows in several parts of India.


Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia