ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Demonstrating a 'New Political Budget Cycle'

The budgetary allocations for primary education and agriculture - the two apparent beneficiaries from budget 2008-09 - are examined in some detail in this article. In the case of primary education the funds have been directed at programmes that show a track record of underutilisation. In agriculture too, the details reveal that allocations are not on directly productive activities. These covertly disguised allocations on "desirable" components of the budget suggest that there has been "learning" on the part of politicians and we need to watch out for a New Political Budget Cycle.

Agriculture: Absence of a Big Push

What are the implications of the loan waiver announced in the budget 2008-09? How well has the budget tackled the core issues in agriculture?

Mapping of Fevers and Colonising the Body in British Ceylon

This paper identifies paradigmatic shifts in the conceptualisation of fevers in British Ceylon, from agues and fevers in the early 1800s and fevers of particular regions in the mid-1800s to a powerful notion of malaria in the early 1900s. In the early colonial records, agues and fevers were seen primarily as a threat to European visitors to the tropics, including the colonisers. In contrast, the fevers of specific regions were identified as localised ailments endemic among the local population and somehow connected to the specifics of local ecology and the indolent nature of the natives. With the triumph of tropical medicine between 1880 and 1905, localised fevers rapidly gave way to malaria and the identification of malaria parasites and vectors between 1880 and 1905, which came to be seen as embodying the characteristic disorders of the tropics, reinforcing certain hegemonic views about the colonial subject and the potential benefits of western medicine.

Environmental Thoughts and Malaria in Colonial Bengal: A Study in Social Response

This study re-examines the notions in colonial India about the causes of malaria, specifically discussing the environmental reasons pointed to at the time. It shows how and to what extent some of the widely held ideas of the colonial era on environmental causation contributed to and, at the same time, shaped a kind of environmental awareness, which became a part of medico-social thinking in India. It also adds a new dimension to the thinking on malaria in colonial India by situating the environmental paradigm within a social and economic context. This links it to other issues of social significance, deepening our understanding of the response to the disease.

Women Physicians as Vital Intermediaries in Colonial Bombay

The pivot around which the improvement of maternal health revolved was the Indian woman doctor and her growing presence from the 1900s was to be seen at hospitals and welfare centres in the Bombay presidency, promoting knowledge of more hygienic birthing methods and safe infant care. These women physicians, graduates of the first five decades of the Bombay University were not only influential in coping with the serious public health challenge of maternal mortality, their excellent standard of professional skills was much appreciated and became a role model for the younger generation of women doctors.

Introduction

This collection of papers discusses in detail the role of disease epidemics in south Asian history. The available historiography is assessed critically as also complex ideas about the identification of the origins of diseases and their geographical spread in numerous forms.

Black Fever in Bihar: Experiences and Responses

This is an investigation into how serious the kala-azar (visceral leishmaniasis) situation was in colonial Bihar, what the government's policy was to control it and how the people responded to it. Until 1903, medical men had little idea about the true nature of this disease, which spread rapidly in the wake of the opening up of communication by rail and road. British medical intervention against kala-azar succeeded only in 1919 with the introduction of the antimony treatment. Till then, and after, the powers that be failed to prevent and eradicate the disease, with a lack of qualified personnel, funds, treatment centres, sanitary measures and, above all, political will hampering whatever modest efforts were made.

'An Awful, Unseen Visitant': The Return of Burdwan Fever

This essay does not probe why there was a malarial epidemic in Bengal in the 19th century, instead it explores how a series of dispersed and dissimilar debilities came to be represented as a single, continuous epidemic of malaria in Bengal and beyond for over most of the 19th century. The making of the Burdwan fever epidemic can hardly be ascribed to conveniently traceable intentions or a straightforward series of causes. The history of the unfolding of the epidemic hints at a "game of relationships".

Autonomy and Ideology

The nature, quality and scope of social science research in India have fallen short of expectations. How can we have free and informed discussion in social sciences and humanities?

The Near Future of Social Science Research in India

It is important to make the ICSSR truly autonomous, but the question is whether the Review Committee's detailed plan for autonomy is desirable and feasible. One could also consider alternative plans to the committee's proposals for introducing accountability in the research institutions.

An Overview

An overview of the main recommendations of the Fourth Review Committee of the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

Social Science Research in India: Concerns and Proposals

The ICSSR is not responsible for the torpidity of social science research in India. Viewed from a perspective on research in economics, this article identifies two concerns (the inability to speak truth to power and the lack of autonomy) and makes three proposals (on apprenticeship, rank and leadership of institutions).

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