1st Edition

The History of Forensic Science in India

By Saumitra Basu Copyright 2021
    218 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book explores the interaction between science and society and the development of forensic science as well as the historical roots of crime detection in colonial India.

    Covering a period from the mid-19th to mid-20th century, the author examines how British colonial rulers changed the perception of crime which prevailed in the colonial states and introduced forensic science as a measure of criminal identification in the Indian subcontinent. The book traces the historical background of the development and use of forensic science in civil and criminal investigation during the colonial period, and explores the extent to which forensic science has proven useful in investigation and trials. Connecting the historical beginning of forensic science with its socio historical context and diversity of scientific application for crime detection, this book sheds new light on the history of forensic science in colonial India.

    Using an interdisciplinary approach incorporating science and technology studies and history of crime detection, the book will be of interest to researchers in the fields of forensic science, criminology, science and technology studies, law, South Asian history and colonial history.

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    List of Abbreviations


    Chapter 1 -Concept of Visha, Crime and Punishment in Ancient India

    Chapter 2 - Crime and Crime Detection in the Western World

    Chapter 3 - Beginning of Scientific Measures for Criminal Identification in British India

    Chapter 4 - Development of Forensic Institutions in colonial India

    Chapter 5 -Forensic Science in India with special reference to origin of Fingerprints

    Chapter 6 - Conclusion

    Primary Sources



    Saumitra Basu is an independent researcher in the field of history of science and history of medicine, and currently a guest faculty in the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute, Kolkata. He is the recipient of different national and international fellowships, including Visiting Fellowship at the Oxford Institute of Ageing, Oxford, UK.