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Colonial Medical Care in North India: Gender, State, and Society, c. 1830-1920

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Samiksha Sehrawat


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© Oxford University Press 2014. All rights reserved. This meticulously researched book traces the introduction of colonial medical care, and its rapid expansion between 1840 and 1920. By funding medical care, the colonial state forged a new relationship between health and governance that raised many questions. How was medical care to be funded? Was the state responsible for providing medical care? What role were the voluntary and private sectors to play? The colonial state sought to transplant British forms of medical philanthropy to India. Participation in voluntarism and a public associational culture associated with medical philanthropy were meant to improve Indian society. Over the twentieth century, as the British state moved towards acknowledging the importance of medical care in India, the colonial state used decentralization to limit medical expenditure. Government and municipal expenditure on public medical infrastructure led to increasing acceptance of Western medicine by Indian patients and popularity of surgical specializations, but neglected rural patients. This book-a first of its kind-examines how gender and ethnicity shaped colonial hospitals in north India. The characterization of Indian society as irrational and bound to custom shaped the construction of both male and female patients. The failure of the Dufferin Fund to raise sufficient funds for a Women's Medical Service exposed the limitations of the government's reliance on the voluntary sector for medical provision. Reform of army hospitals was also stalled by prioritizing economy over efficiency. The underfunding of colonial medical care left a legacy of poor medical provision, regional disparities, and over-reliance on the private and voluntary sectors.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sehrawat S

Publication type: Authored Book

Publication status: Published

Year: 2013

Number of Pages: 328

Print publication date: 28/11/2013

Online publication date: 01/01/2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Place Published: Oxford


DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198096603.001.0001

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780198096603