Beastly encounters of the Raj

Livelihoods, livestock and veterinary health in North India, 1790-1920

By Saurabh Mishra

Beastly encounters of the Raj
Hardcover -
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9780719089725
  • Publish Date: Mar 2015
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: Hardcover
    • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8972-5
    • Pages: 184
    • Price: £85.00
    • Published Date: March 2015
    • Series: Studies in Imperialism


    This is the first full-length monograph to examine the history of colonial medicine in India from the perspective of veterinary health. The history of human health in the subcontinent has received a fair amount of attention in the last few decades, but nearly all existing texts have completely ignored the question of animal health. This book will not only fill this gap, but also provide fresh perspectives and insights that might challenge existing arguments.

    At the same time, this volume is a social history of cattle in India. Keeping the question of livestock at the centre, it explores a range of themes such as famines, agrarian relations, urbanisation, middle-class attitudes, caste formations etc. The overall aim is to integrate medical history with social history in a way that has not often been attempted.


    'Beastly Encounters is a rich source of multiple histories, making up for a lack of cohesion or grand narrative with a plethora of ideas and new avenues for investigation. For historians of medicine, who are often a separate community from mainstream historians, this book serves as a reminder of how this divide is often an artificial one, and how intricately medical history is woven into the fabric of our broader histories.'
    Neeraja Sankaran, Ph.D, Independent Scholar, Journal of the History of Medicine, September 2016

    'Overall, this book is a fine read that should be consulted by scholars and students of the history of public health and veterinary medicine, but also in general South Asian history.'
    Manikarnika Dutta Wellcome Unit for the History of MedicineUniversity of Oxford, South Asia Research 37.1 (February 2017)

    'This is an immensely informative book, based on exemplary research, conceptual clarity and preciseness of expression. It admirably fulfils its main task of integrating the larger social history of livestock with veterinary medicine by bringing into focus several unfamiliar histories and connecting a number of seemingly disengaged plots and themes. In doing so, it produces a broader definition of public in India health to include veterinary medicine. Beastly Encounters is an original, unique and introspective book. It makes us think about veterinary history from an entirely new perspective as it links histories of caste, urban consumerism and famines with that of animal health.'
    Pratik Chakrabarti, Centre for the History of Science Technology and Medicine University of Manchester, Studies in History


    Part I
    Veterinary Health and the Colonial State
    1. Horse Breeding and the Ideologies of the Early Colonial State
    2. Beasts, Murrains and Veterinary Health
    3. Ticks, Germs and Bacteriological Research
    Part II
    Caste, Class and Cattle
    4. Cattle, Famines and the Colonial State
    5. Food Adulteration, Public Health and Middle Class Anxieties
    6. Cattle-Poisoning and the Chamar Identity


    Saurabh Mishra is Lecturer in History at the University of Sheffield

    Beastly encounters of the Raj

    By Saurabh Mishra

    Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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