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EpidemicsHate and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS$
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Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198819660

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198819660.001.0001

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Myths of Plague

Myths of Plague

(p.363) 16 Myths of Plague

Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Oxford University Press

This chapter delves in greater detail into the culture, politics, and ideologies of plague protest principally in India, distinguishing it from cholera riots in Europe and assertions by colonial magistrates and foreign newspapers that religious fatalism, prejudices against Western medicine and science, and mythologies of poisoning sparked the Indian protests. Instead, this chapter catalogues the abuses suffered by Indian communities and their efforts to negotiate with governments to reform outdated and damaging anti-plague preventive measures. Demonstrations, town meetings with concrete resolutions, and petitions united castes, classes, and the subcontinent’s two major religions. The chapter then compares the Indian ideologies and protests with those in China, Europe, and San Francisco.

Keywords:   plague, cholera, mythologies of poisoning, India, China, San Francisco, Western medicine, class unity, Muslims, Hindus

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