Friday, 11 July 2008

Education education education

The Medical College and Research Institutions collection (Batch 2) is now available on microfilm at shelfmarks Mf.IP.15-Mf.IP.22. It starts with the Indian Medical Review which gives a wonderful overview of disease control, scientific discoveries and institutional achievements. You can view striking accounts of life at important medical institutions such as Central Research Institute, Kasauli, the Pasteur Institute at Coonoor, plus a wealth of statistical information from various Calcutta Medical Institutions. The Government objective was, in some cases like Lahore, to train native doctors in order for them to aid with vaccination administration and sanitation measures whilst ensuring that Western medical practices spread into local Indian life. The reports document examinations taken, castes of students, curricula followed, teaching staff, donations from beneficaries, even sports played. It cannot have been easy for many students; they needed to learn English and some required a good command of Urdu. Many were ill and some indeed died. Much is made in these volumes of student conduct, how to discipline them and their progress. However, in Nagpur (est.1867) W.B. Beatson sadly wrote,"The pupils showed not only indifferent progress, but an utter want of intelligence."

There is much to discover in this collection of almost 8,000 pages, and I find it has been a sheer pleasure to work with it.

The photograph that accompanies this post shows the Harcourt Butler Institute of Public Health, Rangoon, and is one of the few photographs from the collection.

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