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Lunatic Asylums in Colonial Bombay: Shackled Bodies, Unchained Minds

Author:
Pinto, Sarah Ann

ISBN:
978 3 319 94243 8
Format:
Hardback
Pages:
242
List price(s):
84.99 USD
59.99 GBP
69.99 EUR

Publication date:
21 September 2018

Short description: 

The book argues that the colonial lunatic asylum failed to assimilate into Indian society and therefore remained a failed colonial-medical enterprise. Lunatic asylums left a legacy of historical trauma for the indigenous community because of their coercive and custodial character.

Full description: 

This book traces the historical roots of the problems in India's mental health care system. It accounts for indigenous experiences of the lunatic asylum in the Bombay Presidency (1793-1921). The book argues that the colonial lunatic asylum failed to assimilate into Indian society and therefore remained a failed colonial-medical enterprise. It begins by assessing the implications of lunatic asylums on indigenous knowledge and healing traditions. It then examines the lunatic asylum as a `middle-ground', and the European superintendents' `common-sense' treatment of Indian insanity. Furthermore, it analyses the soundscapes of Bombay's asylums, and the extent to which public perceptions influenced their use. Lunatic asylums left a legacy of historical trauma for the indigenous community because of their coercive and custodial character. This book aims to disrupt that legacy of trauma and to enable new narratives in mental health treatment in India.

Table of contents: 

1 Introduction.- 2 Indian Insanity and the Local-Colonial Contest for its Treatment.- 3 The Asylum as `Middle Ground': Contestations and Negotiations.- 4 The `Common Sense' Treatment of Indian Insanity.- 5 Unsound Soundscapes: Shrieks, Shouts and Songs.- 6 Public Perceptions of the Pagal Khana.- 7 Conclusion: Shackled Bodies, Unchained Minds. .

Biography: 

Sarah Ann Pinto completed her PhD in History from Victoria University of Wellington in 2017. Her awards include the `Bowen Prize for the Best Student in History, 2017', and the `Fr Henry Heras Prize, 2008'. Her passion for history and healing motivates her research. Through her work, she intends to enable new narratives in mental health treatment.

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