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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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Army Hospitals for Indian Employees

Army Hospitals for Indian Employees

Ethnicity and ‘Economy’ in Colonial Medical Care

(p.187) Chapter Six Army Hospitals for Indian Employees
Colonial Medical Care in North India

Samiksha Sehrawat

Oxford University Press

Medical facilities for Indian soldiers are used here to examine the failure of the colonial state to provide medical care for its Indian employees. The ethnicity of ‘martial race’ troops was central to the construction of the Indian male patients in army hospitals. Army authorities resisted the reform of obsolete and comfortless regimental hospitals till the First World War on the grounds that reform would be unpopular with Indian troops. The more efficiently organized station hospital system was introduced in war hospitals in England and was enthusiastically accepted by sepoys. The military’s overwhelming preoccupation with economy had obstructed reform of medical care for Indian soldiers. The medical breakdown on the Mesopotamian Front exposed this tendency to economize and initiated rapid reform. Some improvement of army hospitals took place after the First World War. However, in the face of demands for post-War cuts, the colonial state decided to protect defence expenditure by sacrificing expenditure on medical care.

Keywords:   military medicine, army hospital, First World War, Mesopotamia, public opinion, sepoy, economy, ethnicity, martial race, food, commensality

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