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Colonial Medical Care in North IndiaGender, State, and Society, c. 1830-1920$
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Samiksha Sehrawat

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198096603

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198096603.001.0001

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Medical Expenditure as State Charity

Medical Expenditure as State Charity

The Roots of Colonial Medical Care, c. 1835–80

(p.1) Chapter One Medical Expenditure as State Charity
Colonial Medical Care in North India

Samiksha Sehrawat

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that by funding public dispensaries in the early nineteenth century, the colonial state laid the foundation of a state medical sector in India. The colonial state was aware that this marked a departure from contemporary British ideas of a limited British role in funding medical care and characterized government medical expenditure as ‘state charity’. Influenced by liberal ideologies, administrators tried to use this understanding of ‘state charity’ to press indigenous elites to participate in medical philanthropy and the public associational culture that emerged around medical institutions funded by voluntary subscriptions. A policy of stimulus was adopted in the late nineteenth century, which emphasized that the state would have a limited role in medical care provision. Primarily, the state would provide grants-in-aid to support institutions established through medical philanthropy or supported by local bodies whose responsibility it was to provide medical care for those who were not able to afford it.

Keywords:   John Stuart Mill, liberalism, philanthropy, voluntarism, public associational culture, medical care, medical education, colonial state, India, dispensary

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