[Throughout history epidemics have served as excellent windows into social and cultural beliefs and norms. While this contagion-catalyzed uncovering of a society’s implicit and explicit thought processes helps historians understand past societies in better ways, for present societies it can potentially be utilized as a way to understand our hidden biases, prejudices, and even kindnesses.… Continue reading COVID-19 in India – Society and Culture – March 17 Diary
A book published in 1979, edited by two young historians Susan Reverby and David Rosner, and titled Health care in America: essays in social history, was among the first to popularize new ways of thinking about the history of medicine. The introductory essay was titled ‘Beyond “the Great Doctors”‘. A primary concern here was that… Continue reading Social histories of medicine – ‘Beyond the Great Doctors’
Sociologist Paul Starr’s book ‘The Social Transformation of American Medicine’ is among the most important expositions of the evolution of medical practice and the biomedical profession in the USA. It was published in 1982 and won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction. It is quite a thick book and contains several crucial arguments about… Continue reading How doctors became powerful – Arguments from Paul Starr’s ‘The Social Transformation of American Medicine’ – Part 2
[Part 2 is here] Sociologist Paul Starr’s book ‘The Social Transformation of American Medicine’ is among the most important expositions of the evolution of medical practice and the biomedical profession in the USA. It was published in 1982 and won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction. It is quite a thick book and contains… Continue reading How doctors became powerful – Arguments from Paul Starr’s ‘The Social Transformation of American Medicine’ – Part 1
This appeared in The Wire on 28 January 2020. Here is the article. I wrote this mainly in response to the Indian government’s gradual and timid abandonment of the universal health care goal for its people, with the latest setback being the plans to hand over our country’s civil hospitals to private agencies. “Immediately after… Continue reading Why India’s founders championed a well-funded government-led healthcare system
We are so used to seeing the interesting Republic Day parades since childhood that we hardly pause to think where and how exactly all of that originated. The bare minimum we are told is that the revered Constitution of India came into effect on January 26 1950, and the celebrations commemorate that event. While that… Continue reading What are the origins of the unique cultural parades during India’s Republic Day celebrations?
This was published on 28 Sep by the Wire India, here. Below are some excerpts: “TB was, and is, a formidable enemy but the foremost public health enemy in the early and mid-1900s in India, accounting for almost a quarter of all deaths every year, was malaria. Observers used terrible superlatives to describe it, such… Continue reading How B&W Bollywood has preserved a multi-hued snapshot of India’s public health story
As I came to appreciate after countless hours in darkened lecture halls, the biomedical view of disease looks piercingly through a patient toward some essential, objective, solid reality of biology—and yet in doing so it loses, like an X ray, almost any sense of flesh of the person. – Chris Feudtner, ‘Bittersweet: Diabetes, Insulin, and… Continue reading Being a good ‘doctor’, not just a good ‘clinician’: Reading recommendations for MBBS students