History India South Asia · Medicine & Doctors · History of Medicine

The time when we had medical colleges as well as medical schools – and the etiology of the MBBS degree

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

Covid-19 · History India South Asia · History of Medicine · Medicine & Doctors · Public health

Covid-19 in India: a short history of the Epidemic Diseases Act

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

Covid-19 · Culture & Life · History India South Asia · History of Medicine · Public health · Religion

Covid-19 in India – Religion and epidemics in Indian history

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

History India South Asia · History of Medicine · Recommended movies, books etc.

Notes on the history of Ayurveda – 2: Ideas of infection and contagion in the past

[In this series I attempt to inform readers of the excellent scholarship that exists on the history of Ayurveda, which is one among several of the premodern medical traditions of South Asia. See here for the previous article.] The book ‘Contagion: Perspectives from Pre-modern Societies‘ (2000) is a great introduction to how people in the… Continue reading Notes on the history of Ayurveda – 2: Ideas of infection and contagion in the past

History India South Asia · History of Medicine · Recommended movies, books etc. · Religion

Notes on the history of Ayurveda – 1: Zysk, Chattopadhyaya, and the origins of Ayurveda

[In this series I attempt to inform readers of the excellent scholarship that exists on the history of Ayurveda, which is one among several of the premodern medical traditions of South Asia. Click here for the next post.] In this first installment we will look at the work of two important historians: Kenneth Zysk and… Continue reading Notes on the history of Ayurveda – 1: Zysk, Chattopadhyaya, and the origins of Ayurveda

History India South Asia · History of Medicine · Medicine & Doctors · Recommended movies, books etc.

Social histories of medicine – ‘Beyond the Great Doctors’

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’

Culture & Life · History India South Asia · History of Medicine · Medicine & Doctors · Recommended movies, books etc.

How doctors became powerful – Arguments from Paul Starr’s ‘The Social Transformation of American Medicine’ – Part 2

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

Culture & Life · History India South Asia · History of Medicine · Medicine & Doctors · Recommended movies, books etc.

How doctors became powerful – Arguments from Paul Starr’s ‘The Social Transformation of American Medicine’ – Part 1

[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