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”?
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
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
As I came to appreciate after countless hours in darkened lecture halls, the biomedical view of disease looks piercingly through a patient toward some essential, objective, solid reality of biology—and yet in doing so it loses, like an X ray, almost any sense of flesh of the person. – Chris Feudtner, ‘Bittersweet: Diabetes, Insulin, and… Continue reading Being a good ‘doctor’, not just a good ‘clinician’: Reading recommendations for MBBS students
Lady Hardinge Medical College, located in the heart of New Delhi, is one of the premier medical institutions in the country. Established in 1916, it recently celebrated a centenary of existence. The seeds of its foundation, however, lie in the late 1800s, when the British colonial government began to take some reluctant interest in providing… Continue reading A short history of Delhi’s Lady Hardinge Medical College, with pictures
AIIMS Delhi has a fascinating history. Most of what follows is indebted to the PhD thesis of Anna Ruddock, formerly at King’s College London. The thesis is titled ‘Special Medicine: Producing Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)’. The genesis of the idea of AIIMS lies not in independent India, but in… Continue reading Some historical nuggets about India’s premier medical institute: AIIMS, Delhi
Popular representations of medical systems, professionals, and of illness itself, are an important source of knowledge for historians of medicine. During my research into the history of the Indian (bio)medical profession in the post-independence period, I recently came across a very interesting short story, published in a Sunday edition of the Indian Express in October… Continue reading A riveting 1947 short story featuring India’s medical education system
Two versions of this essay were published recently. I wrote one for the KEM Hospital Mumbai’s internal publication, named ‘Reflections on Medical Humanities’. The other version was published by the Wire on 29th March 2019, full article here. Below are some excerpts: One of the most striking developments in the first year of the CMC was human… Continue reading How the 1835 Calcutta Medical College catalyzed the ascendancy of biomedicine in India