Indian Insanes: Lunacy in the 'Native' Asylums of Colonial India, 1858-1912
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CitationBhattacharyya, Anouska. 2013. Indian Insanes: Lunacy in the 'Native' Asylums of Colonial India, 1858-1912. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractThe new Government of India did not introduce legislation for `native' lunacy in colonial India as a measure of social control after the uprisings of 1857-8; discussions about Indian insanes had already occurred in 1856, following asylum and pauper reform in Victorian England. With the 1858 Lunacy Acts, native lunatic asylums occupied an unsteady position between judicial and medical branches of this government. British officers were too constrained by their inexperience of asylums and of India to be effective superintendents and impose a coherent psychiatry within. They relied on their subordinate staff who were recruited from the communities that surrounded each asylum. Alongside staff and patients, the asylums were populated by tea sellers, local visitors, janitors, cooks and holy men, all of whom presented alternate and complementary ideas about the treatment and care of Indian insanes. By 1912, these asylums had been transformed into archetypal colonial institutions, strict with psychiatric doctrine and filled with Western-trained Indian doctors who entertained no alternate belief systems in these colonial spaces. How did these fluid and heterogeneous spaces become the archetypes of colonial power?
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11181217
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