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Contagion and EnclavesTropical Medicine in Colonial India$
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Nandini Bhattacharya

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318290

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317835

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Contending Visions of Health Care in the Plantation Enclaves

Contending Visions of Health Care in the Plantation Enclaves

(p.99) Chapter 5 Contending Visions of Health Care in the Plantation Enclaves
Contagion and Enclaves
Liverpool University Press

During the nineteenth century, the foothills of Darjeeling, Terai, and Duars witnessed the increased prevalence of diseases such as malaria and blackwater fever. A significant moment in the history of the plantation enclave occurred when a team of malariologists challenged its modes of functioning. The malariologists were tasked by the government of India to investigate why malaria and blackwater fever were endemic to the plantations and to make suggests for effective disease control. Medical surveys and malaria research in the twentieth century attributed diseases in the plantation enclaves to the systems of recruitment, wage structure, and the autonomous paternalism of the planters, a view that was rejected by the planters, who offered an alternative vision of the ‘moral economy’ of the tea plantations. This vision was essentially supported by the government. This chapter examines the opposing visions of health care within the colonial enclaves of the tea plantations in northern Bengal during the colonial period.

Keywords:   Darjeeling, colonial enclaves, tea plantations, planters, paternalism, Bengal, moral economy, health care, malaria, disease control

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