That reservations encourage “mediocrity” & discourage “merit” is a highly atrocious claim. In recent months we’ve seen a large uptick in its expression. I was moved to write this after a particularly misleading monologue by TV presenter Palki Sharma. The essay uses evidence from the history of the medical profession to inspect this oft-made, offensive… Continue reading Do Reservations “Encourage Mediocrity”?
This article was published in the Harvard Library Bulletin in July 2021. I studied the Minutes of Evidence of the Indian Plague Commission published in the late 1890s, and used those volumes to comment on some aspects of biomedical practice and doctors in India. The full article can be found here. Below is an excerpt:… Continue reading Plague and the History of the Medical Profession in India
This was published on April 29 with the wonderful, new Indian magazine “Fifty Two.” Here’s the link. Below are some excerpts: “A letter to the editor of The Times of India by Bombay-based doctor Bhalchandra Krishna, written in 1888, highlights the range of Indian response to modern hospitals. Among the many factors “injurious to the… Continue reading A history of how the state in independent India ended up championing modern medicine
This article was published in the magazine The India Forum on Dec 25th. It’s a kind of heartfelt letter to people of India about the very worrying direction the country is taking under the authoritarian regime of the BJP and the cultural regressiveness (and repressiveness) of the RSS. Here’s the link to the full article.… Continue reading Why I’m Losing Hope in India – A Socialist, Secular, Democratic Reflection
There has been a lot of commentary on how the Aarogya Setu app, publicized heavily by the Government of India, has hardly been of any assistance in the Covid control efforts. At the same time, it is important to note that perhaps the government was aware of its uselessness from the beginning, and that the… Continue reading Aarogya Setu: The dangerous obsession with technology in public health policy
During my almost six years at Pune’s Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Medical College, from where I graduated a decade ago, I never used the phrase ‘medical school.’ I also don’t remember anyone else using that term to describe any of India’s four hundred or so medical colleges. Recent years, however, tell a different story. Folks at a… Continue reading The time when we had medical colleges as well as medical schools – and the etiology of the MBBS degree
In late March I wrote a piece for The Wire on the century-old Epidemic Diseases Act. The full link is here. Below are some excerpts from that article, and also a link to one original primary source from the late 1890s: the proceedings of the Council of the Governor-General at Calcutta. Many states in India have… Continue reading Covid-19 in India: a short history of the Epidemic Diseases Act
In April I wrote a piece for The Wire, titled ‘India’s Tumultuous History of Epidemics, Religion and Public Health Policy.’ Find the full article here. Some excerpts below: In a racialised phrasing similar to the ‘Chinese virus’, cholera in the 1800s was called, in Europe and America, either ‘Asiatic cholera’ or ‘Indian cholera’. The… Continue reading Covid-19 in India – Religion and epidemics in Indian history