Usman Report (1923) – First Translations of Regional Submissions

Barois, Christèle; Newcombe, Suzanne and Wujastyk, Dagmar (2020). Usman Report (1923) – First Translations of Regional Submissions. eJournal of Indian Medicine (In Press).

URL: https://indianmedicine.nl/

Abstract

The historical record is dominated by the opinions and languages of those in power. For most of the modern period in India, the dominant voice is that of the colonial powers and the dominant language of the examined, extant historical record is English. However, the remarkable Report of the Committee on Indigenous Systems of Medicine, Madras (1923), commissioned by the Madras government in 1921, provided a unique opportunity of direct expression in their various original languages for more than one hundred of those practicing Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha medicines in early twentieth century India. It became known by the name of the committee’s chairman Sir Muhammad Usman, KCSI (1884–1960) and hereafter will be referred to as the “Usman Report.” The Usman Report is the first major government report on indigenous medicine, and significantly, it provided indigenous practitioners with an opportunity to put forward a strong case for more direct state encouragement and financial support. Their testimonies came from all over India and were submitted in Sanskrit, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannaḍa and Oriya, providing a snapshot of the practices and socio-political positionings significant for those practising traditional medicines in India at the beginning of the twentieth century. Here, we are pleased to be able to provide the first English translation of the vernacular testimonies of this important document. The complete original text of the Usman Report can be found on archive.org.

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