Health and Western Medicine in Colonial India (A Case Study in Princely State of Cooch Behar)


Anil Kumar Sarkar


The Cooch Behar was the only princely state of undivided Bengal. It is important to note that Viswa Singha, the founder king of the Kamata Koch kingdom who for the first time assumed the title of Kamateswara. It was a very important landmark that after the treaty Koch kingdom became the Coach Behar State in the year 1773. Before the year 1819, the European system of medicine was unknown in Coach Behar State. There were a large number of people who by and large had faith in ojhas and village quacks. In 1819, the British East India Company sent a qualified doctor in Coach Behar State on the basis of Macleod (British Commissioner in Cooch Behar State) prayer. Maharajas of Coach Behar also applied to the British Government for a qualified medical man. Earlier time, it was confined to the Royal family and to the upper classes people. Colonel Haughton (British Commissioner in Coach Behar State) who was the first time opened western treatment in the state of Coach Behar in common people. Large number of patients was treated at the Hospitals and Dispensaries. There is no doubt that the European modern medicine system gradually improved the health system of Cooch Behar State.