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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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(p.249) Conclusion
Houses of Madness

Debjani Das

Oxford University Press

Asylums were initially set up to remove the ‘abnormal’ and the ‘deviants’ from civilized society and confine them in a separate place away from the centres of towns and cities. This peripheral location showed that insanity was not considered a ‘disease’ in the early nineteenth century; rather, it was a cause of shame for society. However, by the end of the nineteenth century, a proposal for a central asylum changed the situation and asylum buildings began to be constructed in central locations, much within the sight of the public. Insanity was no longer seen as a sign of shame or sin, but as a disease that could be medically treated.

Keywords:   insanity, nineteenth-century Bengal, deviancy, asylum locations, asylums in Bengal

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