History of Mental Hospitals in Indian Sub-Continent

  • Shridhar Sharma
  • L. P. Verma


The history of modern psychiatry in the Indian sub-continent is the story of the establishment of mental hospitals in India. Before the arrival of the British East India Company in 1600 there were no institutions to keep the insane. As such the early establishment of mental hospitals in the Indian subcontinent reflected the needs and demands of European patients in India during the period. Later, the development and growth of mental institutions reflected both the interest and neglect by the colonialists who ruled India over 200 years. In India the mental asylums were entirely of British conception, “except for some ancient collections of curious humanity such as that of Shahdaula’s Chauhas at Gujarat and in the Punjab” — Shaw W.S.J. 1942. However, earlier than this there is a reference of some asylums in the period of Mohammad Khilji (1436–1469) during the fifteenth century. There is evidence of the presence of a mental hospital at Dhar near Mandu, Madhya Pradesh whose physician was Maulana Fazulur Hakim (Sugandhi, 1956). There is also evidence that modern medicine and hospitals were first brought to India by Portuguese during the 17th century in Goa.


Indian Subcontinent Mental Hospital East India Company Medical Superintendent British Empire 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shridhar Sharma
    • 1
  • L. P. Verma
    • 1
  1. 1.Central Institute of PsychiatryRanchiIndia

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