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 wonderful scholarship that exists on the history of Ayurveda, which is one among several of the premodern medical traditions of South Asia.] In this first installment we will look at the work of two important historians: Kenneth Zysk and Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya. Kenneth Zysk currently is… 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

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

Why India’s founders championed a well-funded government-led healthcare system

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

Culture & Life · History India South Asia · Politics

What are the origins of the unique cultural parades during India’s Republic Day celebrations?

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?

Cinema & Bollywood · History India South Asia · History of Medicine · Medicine & Doctors · Public health

How B&W Bollywood has preserved a multi-hued snapshot of India’s public health story

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