In this volume, Bala examines medical education and medical policies in British Bengal over the period 1800 to 1947. This period saw Western medicine changing and becoming more professional in nature. However, the attempt to impose a similar pattern on the Indian systems of medicine led eventually to a conflict of interest between the two, instead of the peaceful coexistence which had prevailed at first.
Imperialism and Medicine in Bengal comprises two parts -- the first, outlines the systems of indigenous medicine in ancient and medieval India and also examines the impact of the ruling authorities on the growth of the Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine. The second assesses the impact of imperial policies on the medical profession in Bengal. Of particular interest are the underlying attempts to professionalize medicine in India where competition and accommodation between the different forms of medicine was a primary consideration.
"Bala's study is undoubtedly a pioneering work and deserves a warm welcome."
-Chandak Sengoopta, Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine
"Her study takes the history of professionalization into the twentieth century and discusses the influence of the growing industrialization of medicine on education, organization and practice."
--Michael Worboys, Sheffield Hallam University
"Imperialism and Medicine in Bengal is a welcome addition to the growing body of scholarship on medicine in colonial India, and is likely likely to command attention from a wide range of academic disciplines."
--British Journal of the History of Science
"This is perhaps the first book on the subject in a region for a definite period. . . . Poonam Bala gives a detailed analysis of the traditional systems before British rule. . . . Bala throws light on all these aspects in minute detail."
"[This book] provides further comparative support for those historians who have stressed the importance of the wider social, economic and political context in shaping the social organization of medical practice. In addition, her study takes the history of professionalization into the twentieth century and discusses the influence of the growing industrialization of medicine on education, organization and practice."
--Medical History Review
"Her account of changing strategies for medical education and drug provision in Bengal situates shifts in State health policy within the broader social and historical context in India and Europe and constitutes a useful contribution to this important field."
--Social History of Medicine