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.
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