V.26:No.11-12 Nov-Dec #306-307

Editorial Note, p. 1-2.

"Siting the Body: Perspectives on Health and Medicine in Colonial Orissa," Biswamoy Pati, p. 3

"Re-devising Jennerian vaccines?: European technologies, Indian innovation and the control of smallpox in South Asia, 1850-1950," Sanjoy Bhattacharya, p. 27

"The War Years and the Sholapur Cotton Textile Industry," Manjiri N. Kamat, p. 67

"Reproduction, Abortion and Women's Health," Geetanjall Gangoli, p. 83

Review Essay titled "New Perspectives on Women's Role" by Nilanjan Sarkar, p. 106, of two books -
1) Vijaya.Ramaswamy, Divinity and Deviance: Women in Virasaivism, Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1996, hardback, Rs. 325, pp. xxiv + 137. and
2) Vijaya Ramaswamy, Walking Naked. Women, Society, Spirituality in South India, Shimla, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, 1997, hardback, price not mentioned, pp. xii + 257.

Book Review, p. 114
Subho Basu's review titled "Partition Revisited" is of Bengal Divided: Hindu Communalism and Partition, 1932-47, by Joya Chattedi, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994, pp. 303+xvii.

Back to the top.

Social Scientist page | H-Net Asia - Journals (Tables of Contents) | South Asia Journals and Newspapers

Editorial Note


This issue of the Social Scientist brings together diverse themes for our readers. The first paper - 'Siting the body: Perspectives on health and medicine in colonial Orissa'- focuses on certain aspects against a canvas of social history. Taking up the adivasis and the non-tribal communities, it explores various complexities that range from the Hindulsation of tribals and the contestory aspects vis-a-vis non-tribals to inoculation, the so-called subversive cults and black magic.

Sanjoy Bhattacharya's, 'Re-devising Jennerian vaccines?: European technologies, Indian innovation and the control of smallpox in South Asia, 1850 - 1950'delineates the technological aspects of vaccination in colonial India. While questioning the method of locating a 'monolithic' medical establishment which imposed western medicine, it outlines the way things actually worked. Here Bhattacharya contextualises the vaccination programme by referring to factors like class, or the rural areas which were plagued by persistent infrastructural constraints. As emphasised, the opposition to vaccination was premised on a host of complex reasons and not just because it was 'European in character.' The paper projects'the experiments. and innovations, which sometimes assumed the form of inoculation in the rural areas. As argued, this could also be seen as a reason to explain the opposition to vaccination. And finally, Bhattacharya shows how the issue of experiments on humans was a feature that was considered normal even in England and a nationalist reading of this can be flawed since vaccine testing on humans actually increased after August 1947, though it did become 'progressively unfashionable' to refer to it.

Manjiri N. Kamat's, 'The War Years and the Sholapur cotton textile industry' situates Sholapur and its labour history in the context of plague, scarcity, labour shortages and the working conditions in the textile mills. She delineates the links between colonialism and the Indian capitalists at Sholapur by mentioning the pattern of


recruitment. As argued, the very idea of a settlement for the 'criminal tribes' (from 1912 onwards) was a part of a multi-dimensional strategy. Thus, it was designed to reduce the expenditure incurred in the jails, act as a 'civilising'/'rehabilitation' mission for the 'criminal tribes', reduce the expenditure on relief work in the context of the famine and ensure a cheap labour force for the Indian mill owners at Sholapur, which was 'bound' to the mills. Given this, the strikes of the 1920-22 revealed the close relationship - not only between the mill owners and the colonial administration - but also the Congress. Moreover, they could be suppressed ruthlessly without any gains fot the workers. Ironically these conditions also ensured high profits for the capitalists during the 'Great Depression'.

Geetanjali Gangoli's, 'Reproduction, Abortion and Women's Health' takes up a contemporary issue which is of tremendous significance. The issue of sex determination tests and women's health is woven and situated against a canvas of the family planning programme and the law. What began in 1982 as a feminist movement in Bombay and emerged victorious with the adoption of a law banning these techniques in 1988 in Maharastra, was followed by a law at the national level (1992) along similar lines. Gangoli brings together the perspectives and the issues which saw the evolution of the debate, leading to passing of the 1994 Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act in the Parliament.

And finally, the review article of Nilanjan Sarkar takes up two books which deal with the 'voices' of women, in their contest against the hierarchies imposed by patriarchy in medieval south India.

Biswamoy Pati

Back to the top.

Social Scientist page | H-Net Asia - Journals (Tables of Contents) | South Asia Journals and Newspapers