Culture & Life · History India South Asia · Politics

Why I’m Losing Hope in India – A Socialist, Secular, Democratic Reflection

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

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

Aarogya Setu: The dangerous obsession with technology in public health policy

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

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

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’