ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Mridula RamannaSubscribe to Mridula Ramanna

Vernacularising and Nationalising Medicine in Bengal

Nationalizing the Body: The Medical Market, Print and Daktari Medicine by Projit Bihari Mukharji (London: Anthem Press), 2011; pp XIV + 351, price not indicated.

Capitalism, Democracy and Medicine

The Art and Science of Healing since Antiquity by Daya Ram Varma (USA: Xlibris Corporation), 2011; pp 413 (price not stated).

Globalising Western Medicine

From Western Medicine to Global Medicine: The Hospital Beyond the West edited by Mark Harrison, Margaret Jones and Helen Sweet

Knowledge through the Trade Routes

Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine and Science in the Age of Empire by Harold J Cook;

Women Physicians as Vital Intermediaries in Colonial Bombay

The pivot around which the improvement of maternal health revolved was the Indian woman doctor and her growing presence from the 1900s was to be seen at hospitals and welfare centres in the Bombay presidency, promoting knowledge of more hygienic birthing methods and safe infant care. These women physicians, graduates of the first five decades of the Bombay University were not only influential in coping with the serious public health challenge of maternal mortality, their excellent standard of professional skills was much appreciated and became a role model for the younger generation of women doctors.

Maternal Health in Early Twentieth Century Bombay

Colonial health reports from the mid-19th century onwards recorded alarmingly high rates of maternal and infant mortality in the then Bombay Presidency. This was attributed to the practice of early marriage, the inferior status of women in society and tradition-bound health habits. This article examines the opinions of men and women doctors, civic leaders and philanthropists who were involved in campaigning for better healthcare for expectant mothers and in dealing with the reluctance of Indian women to consult male doctors. They also investigated the health of women mill workers, which led to debates in the Bombay legislative council and ultimately in the passing of the Maternity Benefits Act in 1929.

Systems of Medicine

The initial coexistence between western and Indian medical systems gradually disappeared by the end of the 19th century and the triumph of western medicine was marked by its professionalism. This paper examines the Indian response to western medicine and surgery and the opinion of doctors in the British medical administration regarding the two systems in the first two decades of the 20th century. It also explores the complexities in the encounter between the system of medicine and Indian society.

Local Initiatives in Health Care

Preventive medicine in early 20th century colonial India saw the conscious promotion of 'sanitary consciousness'. Several voluntary organisations attempted to educate the public on western notions of sanitation and also tried to combat challenges posed by tuberculosis, infant mortality and venereal disease. This paper, through a regional focus on Bombay, looks at the hitherto unexplored role of semi-official and private bodies in health care. While their method was primarily educative and their reach limited to a few cities, the collaboration between officials, doctors and philanthropists in tackling public health challenges proved significant in the long run.

Demographic History

Health and Population in South Asia From Earliest Times to the Present by Sumit Guha; Permanent Black, 2001; pp 178, Rs 475. 

Control and Resistance

Focusing on the 1870s and the 1880s, the article looks into the controversy generated by the Indian Contagious Diseases Act among colonial officials and native Indians regarding the act's efficacy and implementation procedures to curb the spread of venereal diseases among the residents, especially the soldiers and sailors, of Bombay.

Profiles of English Educated Indians-Early Nineteenth Century Bombay City

Early Nineteenth Century Bombay City Mridula Ramanna The genesis, establishment and development of English education in the first half of the 19th century in Bombay city was, in no small measure, due to Indian initiative and support. This paper looks at the kind of jobs taken up by English educated Indians in an attempt to understand and evaluate the contributions of the English educated, as a group in the intellectual, social and political life of the city.

Social Background of the Educated in Bombay City 1824-58

Bombay City: 1824-58 Mridula Ramanna This paper attempts to examine the social composition of the educated in Bombay city between 1824 and 1858 on the basis of available quantitative data. What emerges is that the English-educated were a homogeneous group, showing common socio-economic origins and were not representative of all sections of the population, while those educated in the vernacular schools came from a wider range of castes and communites.

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