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Parassitologia. 1998 Jun;40(1-2):11-8.

"Hot beds of disease": malaria and civilization in nineteenth-century British India.

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Department of History, Sheffield Hallam University, UK.


Malaria control was a relatively low priority for the British in India: despite being the principal cause of sickness and death among the Indian people, malaria affected the colonial economy only indirectly and, unlike epidemics of cholera or plague, presented few challenges to public order. Nevertheless, malaria was an important disease: not only in terms of its effects upon the health and livelihood of the indigenous population, but also in the language and politics of colonial rule. Malaria was a signifier of India's "backwardness" and its prevention was closely associated with the mission to "civilize" and tame the Subcontinent. But the gap between this rhetoric and the reality of colonial policy was unconvincingly wide, and the Government of India's failure to tackle the problem of malaria was increasingly criticised by imperialists and nationalists alike.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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