HISTORY OF HOMOEOPATHY IN INDIA


Before going into the details of the progress of Homoeopathy in India, I take this opportunity of speaking a few words about the state of the medical profession generally in that country before the advent of the Europeans. I purposely take this responsibility, as it has some bearing upon Homoeopathy in India. You are all aware, gentlemen, that india is a very ancient and magnificent country. It had attained its highest state of civilization long prior to all the civilized countries of the world at the present day.


Ladies and Gentleman: Before going into the details of the progress of Homoeopathy in India, I take this opportunity of speaking a few words about the state of the medical profession generally in that country before the advent of the Europeans. I purposely take this responsibility, as it has some bearing upon Homoeopathy in India. You are all aware, gentlemen, that india is a very ancient and magnificent country. It had attained its highest state of civilization long prior to all the civilized countries of the world at the present day. It is therefore natural to infer that laws governing health and disease must have received a due share of attention at the hands of its people.

It was believed that Mohadwa, the great Hindu deity, was the promulgator of the science of medicine. He was dealing with the dead bodies and handing all sorts of deadliest poisons. The truth is, he was busy with examining the human frame and search after the medical virtues of all substances. From him Dhannantori got his inspiration of medical science and practiced it for the preservation of the human race. There is a story in our books that on one occasion all the minor gods and goddesses were eager to become immortal, and for this purpose they were agitating the ocean to get Amrita, the principle of immortality, But instead of getting that, they procured Garal, the deadliest of poisons.

Nobody ventured to accept it; Mohadwa came to their help; he turned that substance into Amrita by swallowing the poison and became immortal. We Homoeopaths can find out a great deal of truth in it. Mchadwa took the poison into his healthy body- “proved” it, as we say-and reduced it into the life-giving principle of medicine. We presume, however crude and unreliable this story may be, that the law of Homoeopathy which the immortal Hahnemann discovered so recently was known to our ancient sages in India. This very principle of similia similibus was also embodied in one of our ancient medical works in the following passage, that “poison is the cure for poison.”

How far my contention may be sustained I am not prepared to argue, but I am so far confident that our medical authority of ancient times had some idea of the Homoeopathic law of cure. Even at the present time our native system of medicine is far better and far more efficacious in curing all varieties of chronic diseases than is that of our Allopathic physicians. Our native physicians, moreover, use very minute doses and are more successful than our brethren of the Allopathic School, with al their vaunted knowledge of science. Our medical science suffered a good deal of loss during the Mohammedan invasion in India. These turbulent people destroyed many of our valuable books in order to introduce their system of medicine, but it proved an utter failure.

Later on, our European physicians brought their own medical science with them. We are thankful to the modern spirit of investigation. By their surgical skill and appliances our Allopathic physicians made a good name and extended reputation, but their therapeutic measures are on utter failure. They, by the aid of the English dispensaries throughout the length and breadth of the country, and are doing some good to the people, but not to the entire satisfaction of the Indian community.

At this moment the Homoeopathic system of treatment engages the attention of our people. People are convinced of the superiority of Homoeopathic methods of cure in India through the exertion of lay medical practitioners; no qualified medical man at an early date deemed it worth while to study and practice it. It was a significant fact in the history of Homoeopathy in India that one Dr. Honigberger, a German gentleman, came here to treat one of the princes of this country, whose case was declared hopeless by his physicians. I understand Honigberger gave juice of Dulcamara to the prince, and he was much improved. This is the first drop of Homoeopathic medicine administered to our countrymen.

However, since the departure of this physician there was no stir-up about Homoeopathy till the year 1851, when Dr. Tonnre, a French physician, who proved Acalypha indica, the valuable medicine of phthisis pulmonalis, came to Calcutta and began practicing Homoeopathy. He was a favorite of the officials in India; so, by the help of the Governor of Bengal, he established a Homoeopathic hospital and charitable institution in Calcutta. Our wealthy and generous townsman, Baleu Rajendra Dutt, dissatisfied with the Allopathic treatment of cases, began studying Homoeopathy.

By his energy and the judicious prescriptions of Dr. Tonnire many cures had been effected. At this time we are told that some of the most fatal cases given up by the Allopathic physicians were beautifully managed by these gentlemen. This is the first planting of Homoeopathy in this country. No regular physician of our country thought it necessary to inquire about the new system of cure.

Baleu Rajendra Dutt was a neighbor of Dr. Mohendra Lal Sircar, who was then a rising Allopathic physician. It was a curious fact that many of the given-up cases of Dr. Sircar were readily ameliorated and cured by Rajendra Dutt. This attracted the attention of Dr. Sircar, who, after studying for some time, was moved by the genuine superiority of Homoeopathic methods of care, and openly declared his conviction in 1867. Dr. Sircar’s Allopathic friends and associates were much incensed at his conversion to Homoeopathy, and he was ostracised from the Allopathic from the Allopathic medical associations.

About the year 1865, Dr. Berigny, an eminent French Homoeopath. came to Calcutta to practice Hahnemann’s system of medicine. He was very successful in his profession but was not long to enjoy that reputation. A Homoeopathic pharmacy was established at the time for dispensing medicine. In conjunction with Dr. Mohan Lal Sircar and Baleu Rajendra Dutt, Dr. Berigny had done much towards the propagation of Homoeopathy in India.

At this time india Dr. Bihari Lal Bhaduri, a graduate of the Calcutta Medical College, came to the field. He was a studious and intelligent physician and it was, I believe, though the exertion of this gentleman that Homoeopathy has gained a firm footing in India. I regret very much to say that we lost him at a comparatively early age of fifty years in March, 1891.

After observing some miraculous cares from Homoeopathic medicines by Dr. Bhaduri, I came to study this method of cure. I graduated in the year 1878 and after studying Homoeopathy under Dr. Bhaduri commenced practicing it in the year 1880.

My good friend Dr. Brojendra Nath Banez, who graduated in the same year with me, commenced practicing in Allahabad, a town about five hundred miles from Calcutta. He practiced a few years as an Allopathic physician, and subsequently took to Homoeopathy, and came down to Calcutta. He is an intelligent and energetic physician.

At this time many of our class friends are converted to Homoeopathy. Among them I may mention the names of Drs. C.S. Kali, B.V. Maitra, P.N. Chatterji, and A.K. Datta. They are all very enthusiastic followers of Hahnemann.

Our good friend Dr. Giris Chandra Dutta, has done much to introduce Homoeopathy among some of the rich people in Calcutta. He is an old graduate and I believe a class friend of Dr. Bhaduri. Homoeopathy is so widely known at this time, namely, from the year 1880, that one of our countrymen, Dr. D.N. Ray, came to study Homoeopathy at New York. He became a graduate of the New York HOmoeopathic Medical College and began practicing at Bombay. He subsequently removed to Calcutta and is doing good work there.

I forget to mention the name of Dr. M.M. Bose, who came before Dr. Ray and graduated also from the New York Homoeopathic Medical College. He is also a Homoeopathic physician at Calcutta.

In Calcutta we have now about fourteen Homoeopathic physicians and our works are extensive. But there is still a great difficulty in getting Homoeopathic help in other parts of the country. There is some laymen practicing among the people there. In order to get rid of this difficulty I tried my best to educate some of our countrymen to Homoeopathy and thus in the year 1883 I succeeded through the help of my friends Dr. M.M. Bose and Baleu S.B. Mukerp in establishing our Calcutta school of Homoeopathy.

Though this school is still in an elementary condition, yet much good has been accomplished by it in spreading our system of medicine. The students on the roll last year amounted to about one hundred. The students on the roll last year amounted to about one hundred. The students are required to study for three years here and after passing an examination, are supplied with certificates to practice. There are eight teachers in the school. Dr. D.N. Ray is the president and myself the secretary.

I am glad to bring to the notice of our friends of the World’s Homoeopathic Congress here that Homoeopathy has gained a somewhat strong held among our people at the present time. In proof of this I may call your attention to the fact that within a year or two we got some public institutions; I mean two dispensary was established as a memorial to that gentleman after his death. Dr. Banerjee is the secretary of that institution. Since its establishment in June, 1892, up to February, 1893, eight thousand patients have received medical help and medicine.

This dispensary has a branch in the crowded part of the city, under the supervision of Dr. B.V. Maitra and I am glad to says greater number of patients were treated here. Dr. Maitra, moreover, deserves our best thanks, for here he used to supply al medicines himself. The dispensary is useful in other ways than giving medical help to the poor; the students of the Calcutta school of Homoeopathy have the opportunity of attending here, and of learning how to prescribe and take up a case.

Subsequently to the establishment of this institution, a very rich and respectable gentleman, Sir Rajah Saurindra Mohan Tagore, established under the direct supervision of Dr. P.C. Majumdar, a Homoeopathic dispensary in name and honor of his mother. There are two paid medical officers who prescribe and distribute medicines for the poor people gathered round them every morning. Deploring the neglect shown to Homoeopathy by our rich class of people in India, the medical officer says that our best thanks are due to the generous Raja (prince, as he is styled by our government), as he is the pioneer of giving public help to our cause.

The dispensary was established in July of 1891 and during this short period prospered greatly. During the year they treated ten thousand cases; the number of cures is very great. The Raja bears all the expenses which amount to about (150) one hundred and fifty rupees a month; Dr. Majumdar is an honorary superintendent. Here some of our students get their opportunity to learn clinical medicine.

The 15th of June, 1892, is especially memorable to us Homoeopaths in India, as on that day we established our Calcutta Homoeopaths Hospital. This is altogether a new feature in our country. It is entirely a charitable institution; all the patients are treated gratis. There are available spaces for (40) forty patients in the house where it is located now, besides a ward is set apart for receiving cholera patients.

It is under the charge of Dr. B.V. Chatterji. There is a managing committees consisting of all the teachers of our Homoeopathic school and many Homoeopathic physicians of the city; the secretary is Dr. P.C. Majumdar. On this hospital, though in its infancy, depends to a great measure the public recognition of Homoeopathy in our country. It is, up to date, supported by subscriptions among the Homoeopathic physicians of Calcutta. Our students get their clinical lectures here by the teachers.

There are about twenty Homoeopathic pharmacies in Calcutta for preparing and selling medicines and I am happy to say they are in a prosperous condition.

There are very few books published in India in English, but many in our own language. I give below the names of the authors and their books.

Dr. Sircar.-Treatment of Cholera; Materia Medica.

Dr. Salzer.-Lectures on Cholera; Periodicity of Drugs, Cirrhosis of Liver.

Dr. Bhaduri.-Translation of Baehr’s Science of Therapeutics, 2 vols. (Bengali); Treatment of Cholera (Bengali); Materia Medica (Bengali).

Dr. Majumdar.-Practice of Medicine, 2 vols. (Bengali); Materia Medica (Bengali); Translation of Bell’s Therapeutics of Diarrhoea, Dysentery, etc. (Bengali); Treatment of Cholera (Bengali); Hering’s Typhoid Fever (English); Epitome of Practice of Medicine (Bengali). .

Dr. Banerji.-Theory of Homoeopathy (Bengali).

Dr. Maitra.-Diseases of Children (Bengali); Treatment of Diarrhoea, etc. (Bengali).

The Homoeopathic Record is a journal published and edited by Dr. J.C. Lahiri regularly every month.

The Indian Homoeopathic Review now edited by P.C. Majumdar is an irregular visitor.

We have a Hahnemann Society in Calcutta. It meets every year to celebrate the anniversary of Hahnemann’s birthday on the 10th of April. Special meetings may be called when required.

Two or three days before my departure from Calcutta, there was a meeting of Homoeopathic physicians and students of our school to accord to me a farewell address. In that meeting one of our colleagues remarked that though our country was poor and dependent and we had nothing brilliant to offer to the members of the World’s Homoeopathic Congress and to our American Colleagues, yet we possess warm hearts and I believe Dr. Majumdar will be able to convey to them our warm and sincere greetings. Now, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to perform that pleasant duty of greetings you for myself and on behalf of my colleagues in India.

THE CHAIRMAN: Dr. Talbot, in this connection has a word to say from Dr. D.N. Banerjee, of Calcutta, India. He has received some communications, in the way of journals and otherwise for distribution, which can be obtained at the close of the session this morning. He is not here, so I will next call upon Dr. Fischer, of New South Wales.

DR. FISCHER, of Sidney: It is very little I have to say about our southern hemisphere of Australia, but I have prepared a few words which I will read to you.

P. C. Majumdar
Dr. Pratap Chandra Majumdar took his L.M.S. degree from Calcutta Medical College in 1878 and later got the honorary degree of M.D. from U.S.A. Converted to Homoeopathy by his father-in-law, Dr. B.L.Bhaduri, he fortified his grasp of Hahnemannian Homoeopathy as the worthy assistant to Dr. L. Salzer for a pretty long time He proved a number of indigenous drugs, and wrote a large number of books in English and Bengali. He edited the Indian Homoeopathic Review, the second oldest homoeopathic journal in India. He attended the Fourth International Homoeopathic Congress held in Chicago in June 1891. In collaboration with Dr. D.N. Roy, he established the Calcutta Homoeopathic Medical College in 1881 and maintained it till his death. He expired on Oct. 22, 1922.