Health and medicine cannot be understood without considering the role of nurses, both as professionals and as working women. In India, unlike other countries, nurses have suffered an exceptional degree of neglect at the hands of state, a situation that has been detrimental to the quality of both rural and urban health care. Charting the history of the development of nursing in India over 100 years, Indian Sisters examines the reasons why nurses have so consistently been sidelined and excluded from health care governance and policymaking.
The book challenges the routine suggestion that nursing’s poor status is mainly attributable to socio-cultural factors, such as caste, limitations on female mobility and social taboos. It argues instead that many of its problems are due to an under-achieved relationship between a patriarchal state on the one hand, and weak professional nursing organisations shaped by their colonial roots on the other. It also explores how the recent phenomenon of large-scale emigration of nurses to the West (leading to better pay, working conditions and career prospects) has transformed the profession, lifting its status dramatically. At the same time, it raises questions about the implications of emigration for the fate of health care system in India.
An important contribution to the growing academic genre of nursing history, the book is essential reading for scholars and students of health care, the history of medicine, gender and women’s studies, sociology, and migration studies. It will also be useful to policymakers and health professionals.
List of Tables. List of Figures. List of Abbreviations. Acknowledgements. Introduction 1. The Institution of Modern Nursing in Indian Society 2. Lighting India’s Lamp: Nursing Leadership and the Colonial State, 1905–47 3. ‘Seeds That May Have Been Planted May Take Root’: International Aid Nurses and Projects of Professionalism, 1947–65 4. From Green Park to Bollywood: The Development of Nursing Organisation, 1947–2006 5. The Indian State and the Disappearing Nurse 6. ‘Nurses Anytime’: Emigration and the Status Question. Conclusion: The Four Feet upon which a Cure must Rest. Bibliography. About the Author. Index
This series brings together research on South Asia in the humanities and social sciences, and provides scholars with a platform covering, but not restricted to, their particular fields of interest and specialisation.
A significant concern for the series is to focus across the whole of the region known as South Asia, and not simply on India, as is often the case. There will be a conscious attempt to publish regional studies and bring together scholarship on and from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other parts of South Asia.
This series will consciously initiate synergy between research from within academia and that from outside the formal academy. A focus will be to bring into the mainstream more recently developed disciplines in South Asian studies which have till date remained in the nature of specialised fields: for instance, research on film, media, photography, sport, medicine, environment, to mention a few. The series will address this gap and generate more comprehensive knowledge fields.