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Title: Shattered minds: Controlling the body in the lunatic asylums in colonial India (1858-1920)
Other Titles: Karatoya, NBU J. Hist. Vol 11, March 2018, p 165 - 182
Authors: Bhattacharya, Dahlia
Keywords: Unmad
Revolt of 1857
Lunatic Act XXXIV of 1858
Native –Only Asylums
asylum industries
Issue Date: Mar-2018
Publisher: University of North Bengal
Abstract: Taming with discipline and confinement the ‘mentally ill’ was largely a colonial concept. The colonial government particularly after 1857 revolt became more concerned about the insane and in controlling insanity they passed Lunatic Acts and constructed asylums throughout the country. In identifying the lunatics the colonial institution used Victorian morality rather than clinical observation. The vagrants and beggars were the mostly classified as insane by the British which was in contrary to the Indian concept of saints and sages. The ganja smokers, hemp and alcohol addicted men were also identified as lunatics. The Victorian morality recognized ‘work’ as a therapy and the ‘mentally ill’ were made to work in the garden, carpentry, grinding wheat and other works leading to monetary gain. The funds were applied to maintain the asylums, sometimes the local jails and led to profit for the British. The paper seeks to look into the colonial policy towards the asylums and the hard work imposed upon the lunatics leading to asylum ‘industries’ and how it received a new direction of economic gains.
ISSN: 2229-4880
Appears in Collections:Karatoya Vol.11 (March 2018)

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