EPIDEMIC, DISEASES PREVENTION, AND COLONIAL STATE: A BRIEF HISTORY OF EPIDEMIC DISEASES ACT (1897) IN COLONIAL INDIA
Keywords:Infectious diseases, cholera, plague, smallpox, Epidemic Diseases Act, Covid-19 Pandemic, colonial rule
During the colonial period, infectious diseases like cholera, plague, smallpox, and influenza were prevalent in India. The British colonial government and the European countries were terrified of infectious diseases. The quarantine of the ships caused a loss to British trade. Discussions began at the international level to prevent epidemics. British colonial government passed the Epidemic Diseases Act (1897) in India to maintain international pressure and protect trade. In addition, the colonial rulers of India wanted to protect the Europeans in India. The law gave special powers to doctors, ICS officers, and army officers to prevent epidemics. According to the law, any infected person was forcibly admitted to the hospital, disinfected of areas, houses, etc. The plague spread to Bombay, Pune, Calcutta, Karachi, and other cities. There was dissatisfaction among the people due to government restrictions. The Epidemic Diseases Act played an important role in controlling infectious epidemics. This law was enforced to prevent various infectious diseases in post-independence India. Currently, the Epidemic Diseases Act has been implemented to deal with the Covid 19 Pandemic.
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