Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 84-87

Lunatic asylums: A business of profit during the colonial empire in India

Department of Psychiatry, Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
R C Jiloha
Department of Psychiatry, Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_589_19

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The knowledge about “maladies of the mind” was in the early stages of development and far from being considered as medical conditions till the mid-19th century. Around this period, the British began to establish “Native-Only” lunatic asylums in India, particularly in the Bengal Presidency of their colonial empire. These institutions were primarily meant to provide custodial care and to rehabilitate those creating nuisance, particularly the wanderers and vagrants. However, these facilities turned into forced labor houses producing goods for the British Empire in the name of treatment. As traders, the British amassed India's wealth in several ways, and the establishment of lunatic asylums for the natives was one of the profit-making businesses. Undercover of Victorian morality, the reports of medical treatment had evolved into profit margin data. This article explores some of the obscure facts of British colonial rule in regards to mental health.



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