By Srirupa Prasad

This e-book examines genealogies of contagion in among contagion as microbe and contagion as impact. It analyzes how and why hygiene turned authoritative and succeeded in changing into part of the wider social and cultural vocabulary in the colonialist, anti-colonial, in addition to modernist discourses.

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Additional resources for Cultural Politics of Hygiene in India, 1890–1940: Contagions of Feeling

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A detailed survey of Bengali books, monographs, and periodicals on health, hygiene, and medicine is available in Benoybhushan Roy’s (1995a) study Uneesh Shatake Deshiya Bhashay Chikitsha Bigyan Charcha (The Pursuit of Medical Science in the Bengali Language in the Nineteenth Century). Roy lists nearly 600 books and journals in Bengali on Western medicine, homeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, and other Indian systems of medicine and therapeutics. The medical archive is situated within the above-discussed broader context.

Ashani Sanket is 36 Cultural Politics of Hygiene in India, 1890–1940 the story of a village as its people suffer through the economic woes created by WWII that signal the famine of 1943–1944. The film is centered on an educated Brahmin, Gangacharan, who earns his livelihood by teaching the village children and performing religious rites for villagers. He is respected for his education and wisdom (which is connected to his upper caste status of course), and despite being of moderate means, he is very conscious of the status he enjoys for being a well-read caste Brahmin.

13 The Bengal Municipal Act of 1884, the Municipal Amendment Act of 1917, and finally the Bengal Food Adulteration Act of 1919 were the last in a series of acts that tried to check food adulteration in Bengal. 14 It also made illegal the storage of any adulterant in production or processing sites for ‘ghee [clarified butter], wheat flour, etc’. This act was finally able to bring both urban and rural Bengal under one purview as far as monitoring food adulteration was concerned. Newspapers, popular journals, and advertisements were abuzz with strong condemnation of food adulteration and its impact on the health and wellbeing of the people of Bengal.

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