Analysing ‘modernity’ in India is a complex exercise, as the movement of the ‘modern’ is locally determined and may be non-linear at different sites and contexts. General medicine and psychiatry are illustrative of the difference in how ‘patienthood’ has been historically constructed, with each wave of ‘modernisation’ changing the subjecthood of the ‘mentally ill’. Unlike the public health sector in India, the mental health sector is driven by the ‘mental asylum’ archetype, continuing through late colonial times into contemporary science in refurbished designs. A related set of changes also concomitantly happened in the domain of indigenous healing, with each epistemic shift pushing this domain to the margins of knowledge and healing practice. The paper is set against the time period covering 1850s until recently (2014).
Disability and the Global South, 2014, Vol. 1 No. 2