Hill Stations, Tea Gardens and Tropical Disease

Contagion and Enclaves: Tropical Medicine in Colonial India by Nandini Bhattacharya (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press), 2012; pp 219, $99.95 (cloth).

This book presents a medical history of Darjeeling, the hill station and the tea plantations in the periphery of Darjeeling, nearby foothill regions of Tterai and the plains of Duars in northern Bengal. Both the hill station and the plantations located on hill slopes and the plains are treated as “colonial enclaves”, where there were “similarities in colonisation processes and colonial investments; geographical proximity, patterns and experiences of settlement (both among the white planters and entrepreneurs and the immigrant labourers); the political economy of colonisation and the trade in timber, tea and emergent leisure economy that linked both the plantations and the hill station, finally their simultaneous absorption within the colonial and imperial economy” (p 9). In the author’s own words “…this book investigates links between Tropical Medicine and colonial enclaves” (p 1). The author argues that these colonial enclaves were special sites of development, inclusive of application of tropical medicine.

Colonial Enclaves

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