Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 332–334 | Cite as

Poonam Bala: Medicine and Medical Policies in India: Social and Historical Perspectives

Lexington Books, Lanham, MD, 2007, 139 pp
  • Helen Lambert
Book Review

This succinct volume (111 pages of narrative text) is nonetheless an ambitious attempt to trace the historical trajectory of Indian medicine—or, more specifically, Ayurveda—through the British colonial period up to Indian independence from the earliest Vedic references to ritual practices that could be considered therapeutic. Bala, a historical sociologist, seeks to examine the effects of changes in State and other sources of patronage on the textually based medical traditions of Ayurveda and, to a lesser extent, Unani. Coverage of this impressively broad sweep of history from the Vedic period onward allows Bala to provide an overview of trends and continuities in the social and institutional position of medicine as knowledge tradition and therapeutic practice, though detailed analysis and specificity are inevitably sacrificed at times. Historians, in particular, may be dissatisfied that Bala relies exclusively on secondary sources until the Imperial period is examined in the final...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social MedicineUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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