Fractured States: Smallpox, Public Health and Vaccination Policy in British India, 1800-1947

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Fractured States is an extraordinarily detailed account of efforts at smallpox control measures in colonial India. Departing from established analytical stereotypes, it seeks to focus bureaucratic roles and functions in an attempt to understand why smallpox control policies and programmes were not as successful as they should have been. This work gives as much weight to the political, economic and scientific factors affecting the extension of vaccination as to the cultural and religious responses of this medical intervention. The complexities of conflicting medical technologies, bureaucratic disharmonies and widely varying civilian responses have been vividly captured in this comprehensive monograph.

By stressing on an empirical rather than ideological approach, the authors posit a new perspective on the attempts of a deeply divided colonial administration and scientific establishment to control a highly infectious disease. Making extensive use of the enormous documentation generated by the Raj, this book also conveys the immediacy of the issues of the issue of smallpox control that so dominated public health policy in colonial India. Lucidly written, cogently argued and highly readable, this book has much to offer to both a specialised and general readership.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew Delhi
PublisherOrient Longman
Number of pages264
ISBN (Print)ISBN 81 250 2866 8
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Smallpox control
  • British India
  • Smallpox vaccination
  • Vaccines
  • Civilian resistance
  • Indian nationalism
  • Indian public health
  • The Raj
  • British Empire
  • Medical History
  • History of medicine
  • Social history
  • Indian independence
  • Variola

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