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

Plague and the History of the Medical Profession in India

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

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

A history of how the state in independent India ended up championing modern medicine

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

Medicine & Doctors · Politics

Caste and casteism in medical education and training in India

The callous response to Dr Payal Tadvi’s suicide last year prompted me to write this piece. It’s an appeal to the medical profession in India to wake up to casteism in their midst before it is too late. The article was published in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics on 23rd Nov 2020. The full… Continue reading Caste and casteism in medical education and training in India

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 of Medicine · Medicine & Doctors · Public health

Covid-19 in India – Society and Culture – The Lockdown and its Pain -2

[For the previous post on lockdown and its pain, see here. For other Covid-related pieces, see here, here, here, and here.] The lockdown in India, implemented in haste and more for political brownie points than for people’s welfare, continues to exact a massive toll – now more in terms of its lingering after-effects than direct… Continue reading Covid-19 in India – Society and Culture – The Lockdown and its Pain -2

Covid-19 · Medicine & Doctors · Politics · Public health

COVID-19 in India – Society and Culture – PPEs, Frontline workers, and their families

For the previous posts in this series, see here, here, and here. [Throughout history epidemics have served as excellent windows into social and cultural beliefs and norms. While this contagion-catalyzed uncovering of a society’s thought processes helps historians understand past societies in better ways, for present societies it can potentially be utilized as a way… Continue reading COVID-19 in India – Society and Culture – PPEs, Frontline workers, and their families