1st Edition

Health and Medicine in the Indian Princely States 1850-1950

    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    182 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Since the 1980s there has been a continual engagement with the history and the place of western medicine in colonial settings and non-western societies. In relation to South Asia, research on the role of medicine has focussed primarily on regions under direct British administration. This book looks at the ‘princely states’ that made up about two fifths of the subcontinent. Two comparatively large states, Mysore and Travancore – usually considered as ‘progressive’ and ‘enlightened’ – and some of the princely states of Orissa – often described as ‘backward’ and ‘despotic’ – have been selected for analysis. The authors map developments in public health and psychiatry, the emergence of specialised medical institutions, the influence of western medicine on indigenous medical communities and their patients and the interaction between them.

    Exploring contentious issues currently debated in the existing scholarship on medicine in British India and other colonies, this book covers the ‘indigenisation’ of health services; the inter-relationship of colonial and indigenous paradigms of medical practice; the impact of specific political and administrative events and changes on health policies. The book also analyses British medical policies and the Indian reactions and initiatives they evoked in different Indian states. It offers new insights into the interplay of local adaptations with global exchanges between different national schools of thought in the formation of what is often vaguely, and all too simply, referred to as 'western' or 'colonial' medicine.

    A pioneering study of health and medicine in the princely states of India, it provides a balanced appraisal of the role of medicine during the colonial era. It will be of interest to students and academics studying South Asian and imperial and commonwealth history; the history of medicine; the sociology of health and healing; and medical anthropology, social policy, public health, and international politi

    Introduction, Waltraud Ernst, Biswamoy Pati, T.V. Sekher

    Section I: Mysore

    1. Plague administration in princely Mysore: Resistance, riots, and reconciliation, T.V. Sekher

    2. Addressing public health and sanitation in Mysore, 1881-1921: ‘Model’ state and ‘native’ administrators, T.V. Sekher

    Section II: The Orissan states

    3. Princely maladies: Leprosy, Biswamoy Pati 

    4. Smallpox in the princely enclaves of Orissa, Biswamoy Pati

    Section III: Travancore

    5. Medical developments and western psychiatry in Travancore and Orissa, Waltraud Ernst


    Waltraud Ernst is Professor in the History of Medicine at Oxford Brookes University, UK.

    Biswamoy Pati is a historian and teaches at the Department of History, Delhi University, and is presently a Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, India.

    T.V. Sekher is a Professor in the Department of Population Policies and Programs at the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Deemed University, Mumbai, India.