Friday, September 9

Indian Doctors in Kenya, 1895–1940: The Forgotten History

I havent read the book, just read the review and it was interesting in its own rights. You normally associate Indian emigrants as labourers and agricultural workers during the British Empire because that's what they were in the majority, but you dont really hear about the other professions. Yes, Yes, I know Gandhi was a lawyer and there were many who went out there to setup businesses but professions? not that much. the abstract is quite interesting

The story of Indian doctors in Kenya has been “almost entirely written out of the history books” (1). Thus begins Anna Greenwood and Harshad Topiwala’s careful and exhaustively researched monograph, which aims to rectify this oversight by providing a collective biographical portrait of the two hundred or so Indian doctors who practiced Western medicine in Kenya between 1895 and 1940. Topiwala, the son of a Kenya Indian doctor, and Greenwood, a historian of East Africa’s colonial medical service, argue that Indians supplied a “cheap, and also appropriately educated, medical labour force” (33), yet faced harsh material conditions, unequal pay, and a largely hostile European medical establishment. The British colonial state, understaffed and undercapitalized, initially leaned heavily on India for a range of assets—the wealth of its traders, the labor of its indentured servants, and the expertise of its professionals. Yet, as white settlement and political power surged in Kenya by the early 1920s, the Indian presence came to be seen more as a threat than a resource. By 1924, the colonial medical service dismissed its forty-four Indian doctors under the cynical banners of …

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