If you ask me “Is Homoeopathy progressing in India?” I would quote two eminent Indian medical men. Dr. Younan, President of the All-India Homoeopathic Conference, said: “In the early days our practice was confined to the city of Calcutta, but homoeopathy has spread since then right through India, even to the distant provinces of the Punjab and Ceylon.” Dr. A. N. Mukherjee said at the same conference: “We have converted millions of people in India to Homoeopathy, and I venture to assert that there are more convinced homoeopaths in India than in all the other countries of the world combined.” That assertion is quite true.
I venture to say that there is scarcely a single village in India without a homoeopathic practitioner. Everyone in India has heard of homoeopathy and of its wonderful curative results, and in leading towns, such as Calcutta, Benares, Allahabad and others, homoeopathy is on a par with allopathy. In Calcutta alone there are more than 500 homoeopathic practitioners. Moreover there are in India about a dozen Homoeopathic journals printed in English and the native tongue.
India has not only a large body of homoeopathic practitioners but a number of important teaching institutions. The oldest is the Calcutta Homoeopathic Medical College which was started by Dr. P.C. Majumdar on the model of one of the great American institutions. The second is the Central Homoeopathic College and the third is the Bengal Allen Homoeopathic Medical College, which has become the foremost homoeopathic college in India. All three are situated in Calcutta.
There are other homoeopathic institutions throughout India, about which I cannot give any details. Each of the three colleges has attached to it a hospital and each of them gives a well planned course of studies extending over four years. These colleges teach all medical subjects. I cannot conscientiously say that these homoeopathic colleges have as high a standing as the best allopathic colleges of Calcutta, but they are good second rate institutions as regards both their scientific outfit and their methods of teaching. These colleges turn out thoroughly competent general practitioners, but no specialists. They are not advanced enough for this.
If we cast a glance at the homoeopathic teaching institutions we find that there are some of high character, such as the three mentioned above, while there are others which are inferior, or very inferior. Unfortunately there is no controlling authority over these institutions, and it must regretfully be admitted that some of them have been created for purely commercial ends and that they are conferring diplomas of little value upon students who have received very inadequate training.
Herein lies the greatest blemish on Indian homoeopathy. Unfortunately we have as yet no power to deal with those who have obtained worthless medical titles. However, I would draw attention to the fact that among the Indian homoeopathic practitioners there is a large proportion of highly qualified and capable men, as qualified and as capable as any to be found elsewhere.
Recently steps have been taken to organize homoeopathy. Conferences have been held with this end in view, and the object of these conferences is to standardize the degree-giving colleges by means of a central examiniNg board and the advancement of homoeopathy in many other ways.
India is well supplied with homoeopathic pharmacies, both native and foreign. Some of these are great and powerful organizations which have branches in almost every important town. Some of these pharmacies have a large publishing and book-selling business. Native Indians have created proving societies for the study of drugs and they have written some truly valuable books. I have no doubt that homoeopathy has a great future in India, where it is far more highly developed than is realized in Europe.
HOMOEOPATHY IN INDIA.
BY DR. S. DAS, of Khulna, Bengal.
HINDUS are a nation inclined towards philosophy and art. The development of the Indian art seems to be at a standstill, and the peculiar genius of the people has caused it to take to homoeopathic science. Most of the cities and towns, and even the remote villages, abound with homoeopaths. Some are highly qualified, some are half-qualified and many are unqualified at least as regards their title.
Even in the outskirts of villages one can find laymen with homoeopathic medicine chests practising as well as they can. In countless respectable families ladies are trying to treat homoeopathically their relatives and children, guided by Herings Domestic Physician, or some native Bengalee book on homoeopathy. At least they have a first-aid box with twelve phials of medicine.
While my country has been getting poorer, like so many other countries, the demand for homoeopathy has grown increasingly. “It is a welcome gift, it cures.” The people of India are tired of swallowing allopathic pills by the ton and deceptive tonics by the gallon. Besides, they know that they have suffered form orthodox medication. Physical fitness in India is very low, partly due to microbic and ultra-microbic factors, partly to unnecessary and harmful medication and so-called “scientific” subcutaneous treatments.
Quinine has brought about the degeneration of the poor folks in Bengal, exactly as the drying up of rivers of her soil is largely responsible for the de- population of the country. Homoeopathic medication is philosophical and it appeals strongly to the philosophical strain in the minds of Indians, especially the Bengalee, who can recognize the power of the infinitely small.
India is a vast country. She has many provinces and numerous towns. With her numerous races, religions and languages her people are cosmopolitan, and their methods of medication are wonderfully diverse. Indians employ Kaviraji, or Vedic medicine, Unani and Hekemi, or Graeco-Arabic medicine, the allopathy of the West and Hahnemannian homoeopathy. Of late we homoeopathic doctors met at a Conference at Calcutta, and there were assembled representatives from twenty-eight districts.
There were present more than 300 doctors, I believe twice as many as there are in the whole of Great Britain. Dr. W. Younan, a physician with an Edinburgh medical degree, an eminent homoeopath, was in the chair, and we all had our say. Unfortunately, Dr. Younan, our great pillar of homoeopathy in Calcutta and friend, died the other day. In Calcutta, the mother city of homoeopathy, there are over 200 fully qualified homoeopathic doctors. Most of them are from the Calcutta schools of homoeopathy.
They are the schools of the Bengalee doctors. Some of them are qualified with foreign medical degrees, and some have degrees given to them by the Calcutta medical colleges and schools. There are four schools of homoeopathy in Calcutta, and many in other towns. Some of them are not as well equipped as they ought to be because their resources are meagre. They have to depend on private funds. However, the homoeopathic medical schools have numerous students. Many of them are graduates of Calcutta University.
In Calcutta alone there are more homoeopathic doctors than in the whole of Great Britain. In the small towns the majority of Homoeopaths are qualified, are lay healers, but they are doing their bit very nicely. In reputation the homoeopathic practitioners are in no way inferior to their allopathic brethren. Homoeopath is gaining ground in India every day. There is a great future for it in my country.