Medical Pluralism in Contemporary India questions the dominant view of indigenous systems of medicine as cultural remnants of a traditional past. It points out that their practitioners greatly outnumber those of biomedicine (allopathy) and explores the reasons behind the enduring presence and importance of health care traditions such as ayurveda, siddha and unani.
The authors go beyond simplistic distinctions like traditional–modern and science–culture. They draw attention to the possibility of bridging the divide between knowledge systems, and prepare the ground for a socially and culturally inclusive approach to healing and health care.
Aspects of commercialisation and globalisation of traditional medicines are also examined.
V. Sujatha is Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Leena Abraham is Associate Professor at the Centre for Studies in the Sociology of Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
List of Tables and Figures
List of Abbreviations
V. Sujatha and Leena Abraham
Knowledge and Society: Ancient Medicine in the Contemporary Set-up
1. Contrasting Approaches to Health and Disease: Ayurveda and Biomedicine
2. Ayurveda in the Twenty-First Century: Logic, Practice and Ethics
3. The Patient as Knower: Principle and Practice in Siddha Medicine
Medicine, State and Society
4. AYUSH and Public Health: Democratic Pluralism and the Quality of Health Services
5. Tension, Placation, Complaint: Unani and Post-Colonial Medical Communalism
Away from the State: Initiatives of Practitioners and Protagonists
6. Competing for Medical Space: Traditional Practitioners in the Transmission and Promotion of Siddha Medicine
7. Medicine as Culture: Indigenous Medicine in Cosmopolitan Mumbai
Competing Indigenities: Mainstream versus Marginal in Medicine and Healing
8. Strengthening Childbirth Care: Can the Maternity Services Open Up to Indigenous Traditions of Midwifery?
9. Global Standards and Local Medical Worlds: The Case of Childbirth Practices
10. Recovering from Psychosocial Traumas: The Place of Dargahs in Maharashtra
Bhargavi V. Davar and Madhura Lohokare
11. Local Health Practitioners in India: Resilience, Revitalisation and Reintegration
Unnikrishnan Payyappallimana and G. Hariramamurthi
12. Commercialising Traditional Medicine: Ayurvedic Manufacturing in Kerala
M. S. Harilal
List of Contributors