Book Title – Medical Maladies: Stories of Disease and Cure from Indian Languages
Edited and curated by Haris Qadeer
Genre – Anthology , Medical , Short stories
Price – Rs 495/- for Paperback , in soft cover binding
Rs 287.85 for the Kindle edition
Publisher – Niyogi books
About Haris Qadeer
Haris Qadeer is a Professor of English literature in Delhi University . He has been a Visiting Fellow in the Department of English, Potsdam University, Germany and in King’s College, London. His areas of interest are Refugee Narratives, Medical Humanities and Literatures and Cultures of South Asian Muslims. His work includes journals , translations and book reviews that relate to his areas of interest.
About The Book – Medical Maladies
The book “Medical Maladies” is a ground breaking anthology comprising of 19 stories. The stories include translations in English from our very own Indian languages like Assamese, Bengali, Hindi, Kashmiri, Marathi, Malayalam, Punjabi, Odia, and Urdu, showing the diversity of medical cultures in India. A wide range of themes and subjects are covered in thought-provoking and captivating stories, covering, among others, the personal and societal crises that arise during epidemics, quarantine, medical pluralism, patient care, medical paternalism, disease-mongering, medicalization, and the subject of medical ethics.
This interesting collection presents new perspectives on the relationship between medicine and literature. The introduction By Haris Qadeer dwells into the relationship of humanity and the world of medicine. Further how perspectives and goals of treatment changed with the evolution of science. How corporatization and the pressure from pharma companies affects decision making at patient level. The author highlights the need of the hour , where the patient gets to have say or have an opinion on how he or she wants to be treated, what afflicts the world of medicine and hospitals and how both Humanity and Medicine could benefit from each other more benevolently.
Medical Pluralism and Humanities
The stories portray both modern medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and surgeons as well as conventional practitioners like Vaids, Hakims, Kavirajs, and folk healers, while illuminating upon a variety of illnesses, the process of healing, and related issues in India. A number of the stories focus on women’s health including depression, pregnancy, abortion, underage pregnancy, childbirth. The stories also underline female feticide and how a woman has no control over her fertility and the decision to abort or not to abort.
Personally, I was delighted to revisit celebrated works of famous Indian authors like Rabindranath Tagore, Munshi Premchand, and Sadat Hasan Manto, as well as discover the writings of relatively modern authors like Annie Zaidi and Jeelani Bano. Alongside, the book “Medical maladies” also has interesting accounts of the medical world by medical professionals like Rashid Jahan and Shirin Shrikant Valavade.
You will find that some stories are very relatable like “Quarantine ” even though they date back to the Great Indian Plague in 1994 because of our recent experience of the pandemic, quarantine and isolation. While some stories in the book “Medical maladies ” are grim , some have a happy ending and a thoroughly witty account for instance the story of Nando Babu in ‘A Crisis of Medical Treatment”.
To sum up , the book ” Medical Maladies” is a fantastic compilation of short stories that are a not just a social commentary on disease and cures, the doctor-patient relationships, and the sickness that prevails not only among the ill but in the world of medicine too. It has stories of undying hope, of dedication and grit and rising above all odds like Bhago in “Quarantine”, and despair like in “Manzoor ” by Manto. Most of the stories are like shining gems from the literary world, bound together by a common theme of medical anthropology and humanities.
I give it a 5/5 rating.
“This review is powered by Blogchatter Book Review Program“