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Houses of MadnessInsanity and Asylums of Bengal in Nineteenth-century India$
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Debjani Das

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199458875

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199458875.001.0001

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Madness and Madhouses of the Lower Provinces of Bengal

Madness and Madhouses of the Lower Provinces of Bengal

(p.14) 1 Madness and Madhouses of the Lower Provinces of Bengal
Houses of Madness

Debjani Das

Oxford University Press

This chapter studies the various definitions of insanity as it evolved in the asylums of the Lower Provinces of Bengal during the nineteenth century. It locates reasons for the increases in asylum population and inmates mortality. Through a study of some of the asylums in colonial Bengal, this chapter seeks to answer some critical questions: What led to the establishment of these asylums? What factors determined their location? Did definitions of insanity reflect any change in the ‘architecture’ of the asylums?

Keywords:   insanity, Calcutta, Bengal, England, asylum population, asylum mortality, asylums, asylum architechture, Lower Provinces

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