Page 57 - Science India August 2022
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           in English. The year 1835 marked the abolition of NMI and the formation of Calcutta Medical College (CMC). The first dissection by Indians happened in October 1836, led by Madhusudan Gupta, a former Ayurveda teacher at the NMI.
The British government then started recognising only ‘Western medicine’, leading to the formation of All-India Medical Association (1928) during a conference in Calcutta, heavily attend- ed by CMC graduates. Bengal Medical Service was formalised for employing British surgeons in Bengal and ‘supe- rior’ medical services came into being in Madras and Bombay. Soldiers in the company were the first Indians to receive medical treatment from British surgeons. Indians were recruited as medical as- sistants and orderlies from the 17th cen- tury. Thereafter, a Subordinate Medical Service (SMS) came into existence (1760) which co-existed with the ‘superior’ medical service till 1947. The Indian as- sistants were called ‘native doctors.’
After the first hospital came up in Calcutta for all (1792), British surgeons began treating Indians. Vaidyas and Ha- kims were found all over India but were popular in local native communities re- ceiving patronage from local rulers. The practice and teaching of ISM continued by students receiving training by vaid- yas. British surgeons replicated some ef- fective Indian remedies. To reduce drug imports, the company started scientific research on Indian medicinal plants. They established botanical gardens (1750) to cultivate/study local plants for use/export. Some medically trained Orientalists translated the Ayurvedic and Unani texts. Advances in Western medical science resulted in rapid decline in ISM. The Native Medical Institution (NMI) (1822) and Sanskrit College, Cal- cutta (1824), were set up to teach both Western and Indian medical concepts using Urdu as the medium of instruction.
Severe criticism of Indian thought and Indian medicinal practices lead Lord William Bentinck (Governor General
Registration with the GMC which was required for entry into IMS was made difficult after 1886.
Britishers continued to prove their supremacy in every field including medi- cine to justify their rule in India. Indian practitioners began advertising them- selves as practicing Western medicine to attain higher social standing, result- ing in a declining prestige of ISM. Some practitioners completely left ISM and accepted the ‘rational’ Western system. There were others who completely op- posed modern medicine. They upheld Image Couurtesy: the indigenous systems and advocated their practice in the purest forms. Sup- porters of ‘pure Ayurveda’ and the Azizi family of Lucknow were among such audacious ones. From the 1830s, the London Missionary Society in south
 Khan Bahadur Sir Mohammad Usman, a hakim and a politician, affirmed the importance of Indian systems of medicine in his Usman Committee report
of India, 1828–1835) to form a com- mittee to support the criticism on lack of practicality/ rationalism in ISM, post which the company started training its personnel in Western medicine and stopped all support for ISM. With clo- sure of Calcutta Institution (1835), the era of coexistence between the West- ern and Indian systems of medicine ended. Medical education at Sanskrit College was stopped. Calcutta Medical College was established (1835) to teach Western medicine in English along with colleges in Bombay and Madras, recog- nised by the Royal College of Surgeons. Registration with the General Medical Council (GMC) was mandatory (1858). After 1855, a competitive entrance test was conducted in London to recruit doc- tors into IMS (Indian Medical Service).
India began to take up medical work as part of its activity. Allopathic prac- titioners often treated the indigenous practitioners as inferiors. Indian native knowledge was labelled unscientific/ irrational. Western medicine was ap- plauded and given the status of official medicine with a visible discrimination and hostility towards ISM.
The interposition of Western medicine was disliked by the ISM practitioners and they openly defended their traditions. Benaras Hindu University developed a course (1920) which taught both Ayurve- da and Western medicine. The Journal of Ayurveda or the Hindu System of Medicine argued (1928), ‘Medical Ed- ucation in India should be so devised that it should take into account not only the present-day medical education but also medical knowledge of the past... While Ayurveda cannot move on in an old groove, Allopathy should not be accepted in toto for India. While we should absorb the pathology of the ‘seed of disease’ from Allopathy, we must give the ‘pathology of the soil’ in disease to modern medicine. The two angles are at present different but should be har- monised.’ The worst part is that the ISM practitioners are treated as ‘inferiors’ in India even today.
With the British succeeding in justifying their rule in India and Indians practicing Western medicine to attain higher social standing, the prestige of Indian systems of medicine declined
The Sharifi family of Delhi insemi- AUGUST 2022 SCIENCE INDIA 57

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