Pablo Villegas Nava, 21-12-2003

“Immunology deals with understanding how the body distinguishes between what is self and what is non-self; all the rest is technical detail.” (Benjamini, Coico and Sunshine, 2000)
The aim of this paper is to make an attempt to deal with the role of race in the issues of the ‘martial race’, disease and the gender under the British rule in India. Due to the shortage of time, this paper has some limitations. It is grounded on a few secondary sources and it has not been possible to obtain ample information on the participation of women in the rebellion of 1857-58, and the way in which they were affected by war, disease and racism.

The first part of the paper deals with the issue of ‘martial race’ and the diseases, malaria and tuberculosis. In the second part, the meaning of race is addressed in relation to martial race and disease. The third part contains the discussion and conclusions.

Martial and effeminate races

In India, the British introduced the "martial race" concept after the Sepoy rebellion in 1857-58 was utilized by the British who recruited large numbers of so called "martial races," the Sikhs, Muslims, Gurkhas, Rajputs, etc., for service in the army.

Until the mid-eighteenth century, the suitability of certain Indians for military service was not questioned by the British. Indians began to be incorporated into the army as Sepoys after 1763, initially adopting the Mughal imperial practice of recruiting men irrespective of their ethnic group or caste.

From the late 1700s to the early 1800s, the British developed greater appreciation for Indian ways by fostering "Oriental studies" and encouraging British officers to learn the languages of India. Most of these early efforts merely acknowledged the numerous varieties of peoples and culture in India and made no attempt to classify them into racial categories or rank them as superior or inferior. Nor was there any attempt to isolate the martial races (Barua, 1995).

To increase the influence of the East Company in Indian society British soldier were encouraged to learn Indian languages and marry Indian women. A sum was to be paid for every child of these marriages upon the day the child got christened (Ernst, 1999).

British reformers from the 1820s to the 1850s urged the Anglicization of some of India's institutions. Nevertheless the high hopes associated with these reforms were shattered in the Indian backlash of 1857-58. This rebellion had a dramatic impact on India and on mid- and late-Victorian attitudes toward the subcontinent. The romanticism of orientalists and the optimism of reformers gave way to a pessimistic stance that emphasized military security and cautious policies that were reinforced by the growth of racism in mid and late-Victorian England (Barua, 1995).

Sir H M Elliot and John Dowson, officers of the British Empire in charge of the carefully selection of extracts published as “The history of India as told by its own historians” expressed “They will make our native subjects more sensitive of the immense advantages accruing to them under the mildness and equity of our rule. We should no longer hear (them) …rant about patriotism, and the degradation of their present position.” (Mithal, 1998).

The british in the late 18th and 19th centuries made Hindu brahminical perceptions into the personal law of “Hindu”, imposing them upon a diversity of beliefs and practices. This vision were upheld by the colonial institutions (Mathur, 2003).

Different sources show that as of 1857 “racial pride” had become more exclusive, pointing to British officials vision of themselves as “the hereditary aristocracy of mankind” and that they competed for colonial post against educated Indians claiming their racial superiority (Ernst, 1999).

Martial races became a concern immediately after the Sepoy Rebellion in 1857, when the government conducted an official inquiry into the causes of the mutiny, which concluded that the British had been unaware of the true martial attributes possessed by various Indian ethnic groups. According to the report, the mutiny had started with the Brahmins, whose high caste made them scheming and dishonest. Such high-caste domination of the Bengal Army had interfered with the traditional Indian social structure and provoked the mutiny. This simple explanation appealed to British administrators at the time. After all, the Gurkhas, Sikhs, Marathas, and Rajputs---once the most formidable enemies of the British--had remained loyal and accepted British supremacy. Because these groups understood the meaning of honor, and duty, the British felt that they were India's truly martial people, which contrasted with the "devious" and "treacherous" mentality of the high-caste Brahmins of the Bengal Army. This means that loyalty was the most important character trait the British looked for in the martial races (Barua, 1995).

The first writings and presentations on the martial races came from military observers and officers in India during the 1860s. Hence the three criteria the Victorians used in their selection of the martial races of India: climatic conditions, physical qualities, and behavioral characteristics (Barua, 1995).

Such views were codified in the 1930s by George MacMunn in The Martial Races of India. MacMunn attributed the general absence of martial qualities in India to "prolonged years of varying religions . . . . of early marriage, of premature brides, and juvenile eroticism, of a thousand years of malaria and hookworm . . . and the deteriorating effects of aeons of tropical sun on races that were once white and lived in the uplands and on the cool steppes." By the early twentieth century, such views had already been so thoroughly institutionalized (Barua, 1995).

As the need for detailed knowledge of the ethnic groups and classes from which the men were recruited became apparent, the government created a series of handbooks on the martial races for the benefit of recruiting officers. Most of this information was compiled by military officers, whose successors updated it periodically in the early twentieth century. This move to create an official ethnography of India resulted in an enormous documentation project that included the establishment of archaeological, linguistic, and statistical surveys, as well as the writing of the Imperial Gazetteer (Barua, 1995).

Women’s participation in the rebellion

After the Great Revolt of 1857 Muslims were the main target of British revenge and repression. Consequently for quite a long period, Muslims remained aloof from national politics (Abida Sami-Ud-Din, 1998).

The participation of Muslim women in the rebellion has been partially gathered by Abida Sami-Ud-Din (1998). Out of the article of this author, it is evident that the participation of Muslim women was not marginal. Testimonies of this participation come from both Indian and British sides.

According to Sir Harcourt Butler (Gail Minault1982), a leading British administrator of the time, ”the priest and the women are the most important influence in India… and I am not very much afraid of the politicians until they play on these two.” (Abida Sami-Ud-Din, 1998).

One case described by Abida Sami-Ud-Din, is Begum Hazrat Mahal in the kingdom of Oudh where the British confronted one of the hardest front during the uprising. The author says that when Oudh came under direct control of the British, they were confronted with a gigantic wave of resentment. The sepoys from all direction were rushing towards Lucknow, the capital city. Sir Henry Lawrence was then in charge of the British administration at Lucknow as the Chief Commisioner of Oudh province. On June 30, 1857 his troops were overwhelmed by the sepoys. Lucknow fell and with it the British authority over Oudh vanished.

The sepoys had now achieved their goal. But the King of Oudh was then captive at Calcutta. The sepoys approached Begum Hazrat Mahal and she readily agreed to crown her eleven year old son, Birjis Qadar, as King on 5th July 1857 and herself acted as Regent.

The Begum headed the Government, with top revolutionary leaders in key positions, under whose banner different sections of the soldiery assembled to form a united front. For about ten months the revolutionary government, under the leadership of the Begum, held the city of Lucknow under its control and engaged the Residency continuously for twelve and half weeks. After the capture of Locknow by the British the Begum escaped with a large following to take refuge in the fort of Baundi, in Bahraich district. She had nearly fifteen to sixteen thousand followers with her. Leaving Baundi in December 1858, she wandered in the dense jungles of the sub-Himalayan Tarai with a handful of soldiers, eluding the British. She ultimately crossed over to Nepal, sometime in the last quarter of 1859.

Race and Disease

Regarding the history of psychiatric institutions in India, Ernst (1999) point out the difficulty to discern one monochrome colonial condition or one universal concept of race. The same might be said about the other diseases.

Malaria once present in Europe, virtually vanished in the late nineteenth century (McKeon, 1979). In India, the area that was more affected by malaria was at that time Bengal, while the North West was less affected.

The devastating impact of malaria on Bengal was seen to have commenced in the 1850s and 1860s. The annual reports of the provincial sanitary commissioners from the mid-1860s, and the decennial censuses from 1871-2 onwards, gave detailed evidence that malaria was the greatest single threat to health in rural Bengal. It was not just the large numbers who died that causes concern, but the many more who were incapacitated. Malaria was seen as an emasculating disease that threatened reproduction, produced weakly and sickly individuals. And further accentuated the division between the ‘manly races’ of the north-west and the effeminate inhabitants of Bengal (Arnold, 1999).

In 1891 between Calcutta and Darjeeling, there existed a large area of decaying or nearly stationary population where sickly physique was the ordinary physique and the healthy physique was the exceptional one. A brooding mortality had depopulated extensive areas and whole villages. In 1899, the Provincial Sanitary Commisioner calculated that in Bengal ‘malarial fever’ accounted for three-quarters of all deaths or almost 1.000.000 a year. Within the 60 years following the first outbreak malaria and cholera have swept away tens of millions of people from Bengal (Arnold, 1999)

However it is important to note that, besides this desolated picture, India was afflicted by other fatal diseases. The 1890s and 1900s alone saw mayor epidemics of cholera, plague and kala-azar. Though, the 1902’s Nobel laureate R. Ross and other repeatedly pointed out that malaria was the largest single cause of death in India, and it was afforded such importance in debates about health and race, among Indian as well as British commentators.

Malaria (and the broad category of fevers in which it was statistically subsumed) was seen to constitute a particular threat to Europeans, both soldiers and civilians. This was met by evasive measures –relocating barracks to more salubrious locations, the establishments of fever-free hill stations and sanatoria – and by partial recourse to quinine prophylaxis . Europeans health remained a primary concern of the colonial state. The size of the British garrison in India (55-70.000 men in thee late nineteenth century) alone made malaria a high priority. In 1871 C.F. Oldman noted that ‘fevers’ …”their powerful effect in cheking the spread of the white race over a large portion of the globe” (Arnold, 1999).

Malaria to Ross, was the great sapper of civilisations, the destroyer of imperial races, and, historically, not just in the tropics. India in disease terms an eminently ‘tropical’ country, was in the front line of the white races battle against malaria. In adition to other meassures Ross favoured the segregation of whites so as to minimize infection from ‘native’ populations.  Segregation alone would not eliminate malaria, but “should always be adopted until sanitation in general arrives at a much higher degree of development in the tropics than it has hitherto attained”. Would the “vigorous population of Europe also sink some day to the same level”, he asked himself, or could science save them? (Arnold, 1999).

Protecting white health was not the sole criterion. By the 1880s plantation economy (based mainly on tea and coffee) had grown up in India and it had become a major source of migrant labour to other colonial territories. In the mid.-nineteenth century cholera had appeared the main threat to India labour, but few decades later malaria was being identified as one of the most important economic and industrial problems India had to face. Hence, one of the principal applications of Ross’s ideas of malaria control was to the tea estates of North-eastern India (Arnold, 1999).

Amongst the interest to combat malaria was to curve the economic costs of malaria in terms of high mortality levels, absenteeism and mortality among workers. By the 1920s, as the recruitment of fresh labour became practically and politically more difficult, the planters had to relay more and more upon keeping and reproducing the labour force they already had.  The high incidence of miscarriages and stillbirths, and the deaths of infants and children from ‘fever and convulsions’ threatened the planters long term interests and directed unprecedented attention to the health of estate women and children. The Indian branch of the Ross Institute  in Calcutta, set up in 1930, further exemplifies the resolve if its parent-body, for its advisory committee was drawn almost entirely from British tea companies and agency houses (Arnold, 1999).


Mortality due to tuberculosis had decayed sharply from the time when it had been first recorded (1838), so that a large part of the decline occurred before the introduction of an effective treatment in 1947. Between 1838 and the end of the eighteenth century tuberculosis death-rate had fallen from c. 4000/million to c. 1200/million  (McKeon, 1979). This decline was broadly acknowledged.

Despite the rapid decline of tuberculosis there was concern about the differential death-rate. For example, according to S.L. Cummins the situation in the colonial army was as follows:
Since tuberculosis had yet been known as a social disease, most affected was indigenous population who came in contact with civilization and settling near colonial posts and cities.

The meanings of race

For the British, the invasion of India by a superior race akin to Europeans, the Indo Aryans, explained why ancient India had been able to produce such remarkable civilization; it also explained why these early achievements had not been sustained and leadership had passed to the Western Aryans. In India a long process of cultural decline and racial degeneration had set in, whether as a result of miscegenation with dark-skinned aboriginals and the corrupting affects of their religious beliefs and social practices, or as a result of the debilitating effects of the heat, humidity and diseases of tropical India (Arnold, 1999).

Regarding the Bengalis, both Robert Orme in the 1760s and T.B. Macaulay in the 1840s, emphasized the extent to which the natural abundance of the region, combined with a hot and humid climate, had made Bengalis as a race indolent and cowardly, feebly and ‘effeminate’ (Arnold, 1999).

The idea of race assumed particular prominence in the anthropometry  of the 1890s and 1900s, where it was given a seemingly precise biological significance (Arnold, 1999).

Of the three explanations for the differences between the martial and non-martial races in India---climatic theories, physical qualities, and behavioral characteristics--physical measurement or anthropometry gained the greatest favor. The chief proponent of this school was Herbert Hope Risley, an Anglo-indian, member of the Indian Civil Service, who dominated Indian anthropological study from 1890 to 1910 (Barua, 1995).

Risley believed that the caste system was the embodiment of racial divisions. He rejected J. C. Nesfield’s claim that castes were essentially occupational categories and argued for the essential unity of the “Indian race”. Hence ‘the question of caste’ was ‘not one of race at all, but of culture’ (Arnold, 1999).

Risley argued that the physical characteristic of each caste, represented different degrees of racial purity of the Aryan, Dravidian and (in eastern India) Mongoloid types. Race had shaped the intricate groupings of the caste system and preserved the Aryan type in comparative purity throughout Northern India. (Arnold, 1999)

Race, noses and loyalty

Risley felt that caste was measurable. Viewing caste as a biological rather than social phenomenon, he sustained that the caste of an individual could be identified by measuring his nose: the finest nose belonged to the upper caste while the coarsest belonged to the lower castes. Such methods made it possible, he believed, to differentiate between loyal and disloyal fighting groups in India. His greatest work, The People of India (1908), presented a detailed examination of the various racial types in India through anthropometric measurements primarily of the nose and head (Barua, 1995).

Risley’s anthropometry, thought officially sanctioned, presented a contradictory aspect at the time of its implementation. Physical measurement formed a crucial element in the recruitment of the martial races, but the chief measurements taken at the recruiting centers were height and chest width. This means that Risley's methods of measuring skull and nose were not followed. Anyway, the Army’s recruiting handbooks were full of descriptions about these and other physical characteristics of the respective martial classes (Barua, 1995).

To make practical use of the data contained in handbooks and other official publications, a British officer might rely on a set of unwritten criteria in his selection of recruits (Barua, 1995).

Although handbook authors were united in their goal of categorizing the peoples of India, a very few did propose that behavioral study would improve the classification process but they were isolated (Barua, 1995).

Race and disease

How disease influence race – how race influence disease (immunity?)

Risley’s anthropometry had little to say about health and disease. The idea of races remaining virtually intact over many generations largely denied a role to disease and environmental factors in the fashioning of racial types. (Arnold, 1999)

By contrast with Risley’s biological version a more generalized notion of race – in which culture an environment figured far more prominently – circulated widely among Indians and Europeans (Arnold, 1999)

Why the British got concerned with disease and race? The importance of malaria that adversely affected reproduction was one reason for its prominence in debates about health and race. Other area or interest was utilising the supposed natural immunity to malaria among certain ‘races’.  This was a local variant of an old imperial theme – manipulating the supposedly innate characteristics of non-white races to serve European economic and military ends. A large proportion of Indian  tea-estate labourers were recruited from ‘tribal’ populations (Such as Santhals, and Oraons). Although there appeared to be some initial advantage, accumulating evidence suggested, disappointingly from the planter perspective, that any acquired or inherited immunity was soon lost and second generation tribal workers were as liable to malaria as anyone else (Arnold, 1999).

While the Bengali race as a whole was often invoked, it was the fate of Bengali Hindus that constituted the main  focus of concern. Hinduism was not declining only due to malaria, but due to conversion to Islam. People belonging to lower caste was converting to avoid the Hindu caste system. Malaria was particularly destructive in the western and central districts, where Hindus formed the majority, they suffered most from the disease, while the eastern, Muslim-majority districts were less affected. In addition according to O’Donnel Muslims also had a more varied and nutritious diet and followed marriage practices (including widow remarriage and polygamy) that promoted higher birth rate (Arnold, 1999).

While some anthropologically minded civil servants like Risley stressed the immutability of race (as embodied in caste) and gave prominence to the physical dimensions of race, race was more commonly regarded as a combination of cultural (as well as physical) traits and environmental influences rather than simply as a set of biological signs and anthropometric indices. The significance of this for the discussion of race and malaria was the belief, shared  by Ross and many of Bengal’s elite, that the weakness attributed to Indians in general and Bengalis in particular was not inherent to their race, but was contingent upon poverty, ignorance and a malarious environment (Arnold, 1999). Anyway, by the 1910s and 1920s it got widely recognized that malaria was not race-specific except possible among Africans (Arnold, 1999)

Racial immunity as a term emerged after 1900 as a synthesis of ideas of race, evolutionary theories and immunology.  There was a disagreement about the balance of disease-specific and general immunities, and whether specific immunities had to be acquired whereas general ones could only be inherited (Worboys, 1999).

This discussion lead to the differentiation between “Primitive tuberculosis” and “Civilized tuberculosis” in 1930. Primitive tuberculosis comprised a rudimentary response that failed to combat the infection, while civilized tuberculosis comprised the development of an effective immune response (Worboys, 1999).

However the evolution of these ideas was not simple. Lyle Cummins, one of the leading British authorities on tuberculosis in the first half of the twentieth century developed the concept of “virgin soil”. The content of this concept varied across the time. In 1908 Cummins explained the high incidence of tuberculosis among Sudanese troops was because they had no ‘hereditary resistance’ and hence were “virgin soil”. But in 1912 he expressed his ‘virgin soil’ theory in other terms arguing that primitive peoples were not victims of an inevitable and invincible ‘racial susceptibility’. His key point was that primitive peoples, like new-children everywhere, were non-immune until able to develop immunity after exposure to the disease. With this he followed the predominant idea that tuberculosis was a ‘social disease’ or disease of civilization’ but he added a new immunological dimension which was ‘tubercularisation’. This term means that European population were now exposed to low levels of infection in increasingly hygienic conditions. This from birth onwards individuals were able to build up immunity, as long as levels of infection were sufficient to evoke an immune response but not large enough to produce the disease. Virgin soil was represented by European children and primitive people (Worboys, 1999).

Louis Cobbett, another of Britain’s tuberculosis experts, signaled a growing tendency from the mid-1920s to reassert the role of inherited racial factors in susceptibility to tuberculosis.  This was due to evidences that tuberculosis in ‘civilised races’ was chronic and localized in the lungs, while in the ‘primitive and dark races’ it tended to be acute and generalized. From the mid-1920s Cummins also began to argue that there was an inherited racial element in immunity to TBC. and that African natives were not the exact equivalent of European infants. In 1928, he said that this racial factor depended on ‘not an inherited resistance or an inherited susceptibility, but on an inherited faculty to develop resistance when brought into contact with infection “ (Worboys, 1999).

From 1926 onwards Cummins began to argue that (largerly from pathological and epidemiological evidence) that Africans and other ‘primitives’ who had been exposed to the Tubercle bacillus did not show the same immune response as European children or adults. African responses to infection were said to be ‘slightly transitory’, and this was taken to follow from their ‘imperfect individual and racial adaptation to the tubercle bacillus’ (Worboys, 1999).

The virgin soil theory was opposed to the racial theory but both were grounded on racial conceptions. In addition public health professional’s views did not coincide with those sustained by clinicians. To understand this differences it is important to take into account that it was evident that the decay of tuberculosis in Europe and USA had been too rapid for inheritance or natural selection to have played a large part, which exposed the social character of tuberculosis (Worboys, 1999).

This trait leads health policies to emphasise that the disease was preventable and curable. Clinicians grounded their knowledge on laboratory work, especially marked interspecies differences in susceptibility to tuberculosis. Also clinical and epidemiological evidence had shown considerable variation in susceptibility between individuals. These results were extrapolated to families, communities, nationalities and races, and, of course, chimed with interspecies differences (Worboys, 1999).

The social and political implications of these views were important. Such views assumed and gave naturalistic authority to social evolutionary models which  suggested that Africans had childe like bodies as well as minds (Worboys, 1999).

In virgin soil theory non-Europeans were childlike, a view not only resonated with wider racial stereotypes, but carried implication for colonial development. Cummins assumed that all societies would follow the path of Western civilization but argued that colonial development would require a historical timescale and have to be carefully planned and monitored. The implications doctors drew from the racial theory were that colonial development could only occur on an evolutionary timescale, or would have to follow new trajectories adapted for peoples who had particular constitutional weaknesses. In the 1930s, such notions were easily reconciled with the policy of complementary development, which was originally designed to support British industry and end colonial indebtness. The policy proposed that colonial societies would remain non-urban primary producers of agricultural goods and raw materials that would be exchanged for British products. This contributed to damage colonial economies and to the fall in standards of living and this was seen to produce a rapid deterioration  in the health of colonial peoples (Worboys, 1999).


According to Malik (1996), for the Victorians, race was a description of social distinctions, not of color differences. And the view upon non-Europeans as an inferior race was but an extension of the already existing view of the working class at home. Quoting Lorimer, Malik says that until the middle of the 18th century, black people were treated according to their social status rather than the colour of their skin.These views are clearly exposed by the situation in India until the rebellion of 1857-58.

The ‘Martial race’ concept was superposed on the concept of ‘manly race’, originated in the 1700s. It gives a new content to the manly race concept, stressing the quality of loyalty, but foremost it expresses the sharpened contradictions between the British and the Indians. It expresses as well that the British were in acute need of domesticate the masses.

The genderization of the masses that were to be dominated correspond to the cult of domesticity about which McClintock says that it was not simply a trivial and fleeting irrelevance, belonging properly in the private, “natural” realm of the family. Rather, the cult of domesticity was a crucial dimension of male as well as female identities, and an indispensable element both of the industrial market and the imperial enterprise.

Englishmen, McClintock (1995) says, give birth to three economic orders – the male, reproductive order of patriarchal nonogamy; the white economic order of mining capital; and the global, political order of empire. As gender, race and class come into existence in and through relation to each other (McClintock, 1995), it is evident that the genderization of the Indian masses and the concept of “martial race” expressed an specific imperial policy, with deep social, political and cultural implications.

The aversion of the British to high caste in India was due to their role in the uprising. This shows that the British power was rooted in the high castes, which, -in the beginning- were treated according to their status. The rebellion changed the British discourse against this groupings but, as drown from the institutionalization of Brahminics views through the Hindu code in practice they remained “loyal” to these sectors.

The genderization of the masses and the problem that the empire was facing in India makes necessary to consider the ideas that the British had about women. But as the problem of the sepoy rebellion and the posterior course of the conflict shows, one important factor in the rebellion was the Muslim growing population (births + converts). For the British to say that women were one of the most important influences could mirror the truth. But it might mean as well that manly rebels were effeminate because they were under the thumb of their women. In this sense it is important to take into consideration what the Europeans thought of Muslim women.

According to Kahf (1999) , the eighteen century was the scene of broad changes not just in the various European nations’ relations with the Islamic world, but in the social organization of gender within European societies. This period witnesses a great increase in the number of conduct book and a curious change in their content to a focus on a “new kind of woman” (quoted from Armstrong 1987b, 99). The ideal of the conduct book and overlapping novel of manners (especially 1760 to 1820) …. Was a female composed of two sets of virtues:passive virtues such as modesty, humility, honesty, and obedience to male authority. The second –this is the novelty- comprised the active domestic virtues of the competent housewife. This new feminine ideal was finally promoted in opposition to, the older cultural ideal of the accomplished aristocratic woman. At the same time a sudden explosion of harem discourse occurred in the eighteen century. What function could this harem discourse have fulfilled earlier, that it could continue to fulfill after imperialism and colonialism had been fully installed?

The narrative of the Muslim woman had to be more than just a function of European relations with the Islamic World. it was also a function of specific kinds of desire in the discourse of sexuality within European societies, ….116c/ (Kahf, 1999).

Regarding disease, the concept of immunity is central in this paper. The late 1800s and 1900s are characteristic by important advances in medicine, as well as important changes in the spreading of diseases that were not attributable to medical sciences, such as the declining mortality due to tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. Despite this trend racist were able to survive using including the new advances in their arguments.

One reason for this fact, was that scientific advances happened in a context were racism was the dominant one. This leads to the extension of the results of clinical trials and epidemiological data to social categories that were not conceived around the issue of concern. This leads to ignore intra-group differences and to further strengthen racial prejudices.

Otherwise, comprised by the race concept there were some elements that made it able to melt with the scientific advances. Regarding the discussion of immunity it happened on the background of Race permeability. Racist believed that race was permeable to the influence of the environment as expressed by the belief that Arians had been degenerated in India both by the influence of the environment and/or the contact with the Indian dark races or the Dravidians. Same that acquired importance with the nazis (Linke). The same author shows that in the late medieval and modern European folklore, immense power was ascribed to blood, especially human blood. Undersood as the substance of life (a vital principle), blood was imbued with an assortment of mystical proiperties: healing virtues, destructive propensities, and magical potency. In the late Middle Ages and into modern times, the illness or pain was believed to travel (through the medium of blood) to an external substance or object that would take on the disease.

Galen’s concept of humoral pathology prevailed until the early nineteenth  century, and even appeared in the philosophical works of Immanuel Kant. In his 1800’s Antrhropologie suggested that mental states, or temperaments, were determined by the quality of body fluids and the elements of heat and cold that were involved in the processing of these humors. 182a_ (Linke, 1999)

 On the background of the power relations that imposed the colonization across India, this ideas could not but get melted with/and utilize scientific advances to further drive racism to its extremes.

In theses sanguine visions, the body emerged as a permeable organism:..the external world impressed itself onto the composition of blood, fluids, and organs. (Linke, 1999)


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