Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 369–386 | Cite as

Compromised: Making Institutions and Indigenous Medicine in Mysore State, Circa 1908–1940

  • Guy AttewellEmail author
Original Paper


This is a study of the emergence of new institutional arenas for ayurveda and yunani medicine, collectivized at the time as ‘indigenous medicine,’ in a semi-autonomous State (Mysore) in late colonial India. The study argues that the characteristic dimensions of this process were compromise and misalignment between ideals of governance and modes of pedagogy and practice. Running counter to a narrative that the Princely States such as Mysore were instrumental for the ‘preservation’ of ayurveda, this study analyzes the process of negotiation and struggle between a variety of actors engaged with shaping the direction of institutionalized ‘indigenous medicine’. In examining the entanglements over the priorities of the state administration and the conflicting desires and ideals of protagonists, the study problematizes the idea of studying the encounter between the ‘state’ and ‘indigenous medicine,’ in order rather to highlight their co-production and the tensions which were generated in the process. While institution-making for ayurveda and yunani in Mysore State assumed distinctive translocal forms, themes of divergence that were unresolved during the time of this study, over the role of the state, the politics of validation, appropriate curricula and pedagogy, and their relation to practice and employment, continue to inform the trajectories of state-directed health provision through ‘indigenous medicine’ on larger scales [India, health-care, ayurveda, yunani, education].


Mysore Indigenous medicine Ayurveda Yunani Education 



This article is an original research article and I guarantee that it has not been submitted or published anywhere else. I would gratefully like to acknowledge the comments of the two anonymous reviewers of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Sciences DepartmentFrench Institute of PondicherryPondicherryIndia

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