ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Ayurveda in a New Arrangement:Complexities of Mainstreaming in Indian Medical System


Mallick Dr Sharmistha - Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi, Sociology, New Delhi, India


15 – Hospitals in South Asia: Historical and Ethnographic Perspectives


 This paper aims to look into the complexities of mainstreaming of Ayurveda in India’s public health care system, especially in the context of Delhi. It aims to explore health care infrastructure as an organisation in which the roles and perceptions of different actors like patients, doctors, paramedics and administrators are examined. As Starr (1982: 8) has argued, this organisation of medical care cannot be understood solely in terms of medicine, the relations between doctor and patient, or the various forces internal to the health care sector but by taking into account ‘the larger fields of power and social structure which influences the internal structures of a medical system’. This larger field of power and social structure include the role of state, market and global health organisations and their inter-relationships.  The paper is an ethnographic study of Ayurvedic public health institutions in Delhi, India. Some of the important questions this paper addresses are: what kinds of changes or challenges, has the system of medical knowledge undergone in the process of mainstreaming? What does this say about state regulation of medical pluralism? How do we assess efficacy of a medical system in present public/ plural health care delivery? While addressing these questions, the paper aims to enquire into the paradoxes of medicine in relation to its social and political context.