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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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Zenana Medical Care

Zenana Medical Care

The Dufferin Fund, the Colonial State, and Female Medical Experts

(p.100) Chapter Four Zenana Medical Care
Colonial Medical Care in North India

Samiksha Sehrawat

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the role of gender in shaping medical care for women in India. Orientalist essentializations about native women were reiterated in the construction of the zenana patient, whose observance of female seclusion was believed to expose her to illness and suffering. The Dufferin Fund epitomized colonial ideals of medical philanthropy and provided zenana medical care by supplying female doctors for Indian women. The difficulties of subsuming all Indian women in the figure of the zenana patient were exposed when zenana medical care had to accommodate patients who did not practise purdah. As a quasi-governmental organization, the Fund was closely linked to the colonial state through vicereines acting as incorporated wives. The growing importance of female medical experts, represented by the Association of Medical Women in India, marked a shift from maternal imperialism to feminization of the empire, with demands for state involvement in providing medical care for Indian women.

Keywords:   purdah, zenana, colonial medical care, patient, medical philanthropy, Association of Medical Women in India, Dufferin Fund, women doctors, experts, charity, gender, incorporated wife

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