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Healing, Medical Power and the Poor in Tribal India

Three-day workshop held in Surat, India
21-23 March 2007
Organisers: David Hardiman, Dr Gauri Raje and Dr Akash Acharya

The Centre for Social Science (CSS), India, and the Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick (UK), held a three-day workshop in March 2007 on the theme ‘Healing, Medical Power and the Poor in Tribal India.’ The workshop was held at the Centre for Social Sciences, Surat, bringing together academics, grassroots workers and activists, who shared their concerns and created a dialogue regarding health development work in history and in the current political climate in tribal India.

Papers were on a number of themes. Since the late nineteenth century, many different groups have sought to provide health care for the tribal peoples of India, ranging from the British colonial rulers, Christian missionaries, nationalist activists, the postcolonial Indian state, private doctors, NGO workers, religious organisations, evangelistic faith healers, and political and quasi-political groups. Despite all this attention, health care in such areas is at best patchy, and generally highly inadequate. Conference papers examined both this history and provided a contemporary survey of this process in the context of the tribal areas of India.