Hariti is the ancient Indian goddess of childbirth and women healers, known at one time throughout South and Southeast Asia from India to Nepal and Bali. Daughters of Hariti looks at her 'daughters' today, female midwives and healers in many different cultures across the region. It also traces the transformation of childbirth in these cultures under the impact of Western biomedical technology, national and international health policies and the wider factors of social and economic change. The authors ask what can be done to improve the high rates of maternal and infant deaths and illnesses still associated with childbirth in most societies in this area and whether the wholesale replacement of indigenous knowledge by Western biomedical technology is necessarily a good thing.
' ... one of the major accomplishments of the book is the persuasive way Western values and secularist models are explained to be "equally dismissive of local traditions and folk practices such as those associated with childbirth".' – SOAS