CHLS Seminar with Awanish Kumar: “Caste has killed Public Spirit”: The Difficulty of Public Health in India
Moot Court, 8-10 Berkeley Square
Abstract - “Caste has killed Public Spirit”: The Difficulty of Public Health in India
Broadly speaking, the twin themes of public sanitation and social solidarity underlie the global history of public health across societies. The Indian case has been a puzzle for social scientists and public health practitioners alike. On the one hand, India has grown tremendously over the years and even turned into a prized destination for “medical tourism”, on the other, it is still to come out of very high levels of malnutrition, anaemia and poor health among its population, especially women, Dalits and indigenous tribespeople. Drawing from the writings of Dr B R Ambedkar and building upon his theorization of the caste society and its association with gender relations, I argue that the everyday operation of caste is antithetical to the principles of public health. The caste system represents a public health crisis in India that needs to be recognized as such.
Speaker - Awanish Kumar
Awanish is a British Academy Newton International Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. He is also a visiting member of the faculty at Azim Premji University, Bangalore, India, and Consulting Editor (Book Reviews) at Economic & Political Weekly, Mumbai, India. His academic and research interests are in the fields of agrarian studies, caste, social policy and social movements.
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