1st Edition

History of Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine in India

Edited By Suvobrata Sarkar Copyright 2022
    350 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    350 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    350 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    This volume studies the concept and relevance of HISTEM (History of Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine) in shaping the histories of colonial and postcolonial South Asia. Tracing its evolution from the establishment of the East India Company through to the early decades after the Independence of India, it highlights the ways in which the discipline has changed over the years and examines the various influences that have shaped it. Drawing on extensive case studies, the book offers valuable insights into diverse themes such as the East–West encounter, appropriation of new knowledge, science in translation and communication, electricity and urbanization, the colonial context of engineering education, science of hydrology, oil and imperialism, epidemic and empire, vernacular medicine, gender and medicine, as well as environment and sustainable development in the colonial and postcolonial milieu.

    An indispensable text on South Asia’s experience of modernity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this book will be of interest to scholars and researchers of modern South Asian studies, modern Indian history, sociology, history of science, cultural studies, colonialism, as well as studies on Science, Technology, and Society (STS).  


    Suvobrata Sarkar


    Section I: Science and Society

    1.      Medicine, natural history and the curious case of Soorjo Coomar Goodeve Chuckerbutty

    John Mathew

    2.      Examining the foundations of science: an essay on Ramendra Sundar Trivedi’s epistemological inquiries

    Santanu Chacraverti

    3.      Professor Balaji Prabhakar Modak – a forgotten science propagator from Maharashtra

    Abhidha Dhumatkar

    4.       Cultural politics of engagement: Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad and the shaping of a scientific-citizen public in Kerala

    Shiju Sam Varughese

    Section II: Technology and Culture

    5.      Electrification and urbanization in Madras, 1895-1930

    Y. Srinivasa Rao

    6.      Academic engineering and India’s colonial encounter: Bengal Engineering College, Sibpur a historical perspective

    Suvobrata Sarkar

    7.      Of geologists and water-diviners: the quest for groundwater knowledge in mid-twentieth century India

    Kapil Subramanian

    8.      From battlefields to homes: oil’s imperial and quotidian life in colonized and independent India

          Sarandha Jain      

    Section III: Environmental Issues

    9.      Designing scientific mining: evolution and implementation, c. 1860s-1930s

    Sahara Ahmed

    10.  On grazing lands and cultivated fodder

    Himanshu Upadhyaya

    11.  Deforestation, ecological deterioration and scientific forestry in Purulia, 1890s-1960s

    Nirmal Kumar Mahato

    Section IV: Medical Encounters

    12.  Where man meets medicine: some reflections on The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Āyurveda with its epistemological consequences

    Jayanta Bhattacharya

    13.  Therapeutic ideas and practices of tuberculosis in the Madras Presidency, 1910-1947

    B Eswara Rao

    14.  A case for the social history of homoeopathic hospitals in India: an invitation for its construction and rendition

    Dhrub Kumar Singh

    15.  Saviour sisters: services of the Delhi female medical missionaries in late colonial India

    Ch. Radha Gayathri


    Suvobrata Sarkar is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, India. His research explores history of technology in the context of nineteenth- and twentieth-century South Asia. His most recent publication is Let There be Light: Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Electricity in Colonial Bengal, 1880–1945 (2020).