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Title: Indigenous Therapeutics, Public Discourse and the Politics of Practice in 20th Century Colonial Bengal
Other Titles: SOCIAL TRENDS Peer-reviewed National Journal of the Department of Sociology of North Bengal University, Vol.10, 31st March 2023, pp. 143-156
Authors: Gupta, Anuradha
Keywords: Indigenous therapeutics
Public policy
Indian medicine
Issue Date: 31-Mar-2023
Publisher: University of North Bengal
Abstract: State sanctioned archival documents on indigenous medicine is reflective of the practice of forgetting and foregoing in constructing an “Indian Medical System”. These documents not being the only one in public discourse bears open an elite practice of institutionalisation of a dynamic field with possibilities in voices and vocation that transgresses such elite and authoritarian definitions. The public discourse is a space that not only accommodates the “official” but also a wide range of documents that have an official charge but does not fit into the restrictive scope of the statist registers of qualifying as officially sanctioned knowledge. The article attempts to make a close reading of public policy of documents of indigenous medicines in the late colonial period in India and the vast circulation of printed matters, especially Bengali periodicals publishing on the same, that were being published in those years and reading them together in a dialogue. Unlike reading them as existing dichotomously, the article attempts to study what Henry Lefebvre calls the “present” in understanding the everyday life. The task of policy makers around medical matters and practitioners in constructing an authentic charter overlooks these periodicals that supplements the former’s nationalist cause as well as circumvent it. Grihachikitsa and Mustiyog, that the article will focus upon, dotting these periodicals continue to pose itself as an epistemic conundrum refusing to settle indigenous therapeutics into any dominant discourse and disciplinisation. Methodologically, everyday life of therapeutic matters will unfold the problem of knowledge formation around the historicity of these medicinal materials and also how it remains a contested field due to the policies that overlook the identities around caste, regional, linguistic and gender diversity in contributing to the epistemic repertoire of “national medicine”.
ISSN: 2348-6538
Appears in Collections:Vol.10 (March 2023)

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