By Richard S Weiss
Regardless of the worldwide unfold of Western clinical perform, conventional medical professionals nonetheless thrive within the sleek international. In Recipes for Immortality, Richard Weiss illuminates their endured luck through studying the ways that siddha clinical practitioners in Tamil South India win the belief and patronage of sufferers. whereas biomedicine may well alleviate a patient's actual misery, siddha medical professionals supply their clients even more: association to a undying and natural group, the myth of a Tamil utopia, or even the possibility of immortality. They communicate of a golden age of Tamil civilization and of conventional drugs, drawing on broader revivalist formulations of a natural and historical Tamil group.
Weiss analyzes the good fortune of siddha medical professionals, concentrating on how they've got effectively garnered authority and credibility. whereas laying off mild on their lives, vocations, and aspirations, Weiss additionally files the demanding situations that siddha medical professionals face within the smooth global, either from a biomedical approach that says common efficacy, and in addition from the rival conventional drugs, ayurveda, that is promoted because the nationwide drugs of an self sustaining Indian nation. Drawing on ethnographic info; premodern Tamil texts on medication, alchemy, and yoga; govt archival assets; university textbooks; and renowned literature on siddha medication and at the siddhar yogis, he provides an in-depth research of this conventional approach of data, which serves the clinical wishes of thousands of Indians.
Weiss concludes with a glance at conventional medication at huge, and demonstrates that siddha medical professionals, regardless of resent tendencies towards globalization and biomedicine, replicate the broader political and non secular dimensions of clinical discourse in our smooth international. Recipes for Immortality proves that clinical authority relies not just on actual effectiveness, but additionally on imaginitive approaches that relate to non-public and social identities, conceptions of historical past, secrecy, loss, and utopian promise
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Extra resources for Recipes for Immortality: Healing, Religion, and Community in South India
Their Reply to the Report on the Investigation into the Indigenous Drugswas published in 1921. ”25 These “vital parts” are indigenous theories of health and the body, the areas of Indian medical knowledge that colonial health administrators did not consider worthy of consideration. ’ ”27 Koman suggests that although there may be some useful medicines in the indigenous pharmacopoeia, these were chanced upon by practitioners, not systematically hypothesized through the application of theory. ”29 The vaidyas argue that Koman is influenced here by his biomedical background which values quick, temporary benefits over slower but permanent results.
This traditional space is also an organic space, because practitioners distinguish Indian bodies from European bodies and propose an inalienable, material connection between disease, medicines, climate, and an autochthonous people. Western medicines, they say, do not have the proper organic material to effectively heal Indian bodies. Finally, this geographic and organic uniqueness is the basis for assertions of a unique cultural space, a site for indigenous medical theories and practices as a whole, as vaidyas celebrate the cultural products of their medical tradition as best suited to local people.
47 These indigenous practitioners describe the conjunction of Indian bodies and Indian medicine as neither accidental nor conventional but rather historical and, even more important, essential, as the essences of each have a single origin and evolved in a symbiotic relationship. 48 In siddha and ayurveda, there are three humors—wind, bile, and phlegm—called tridoùa in ayurveda, and tiridōca or muppiõi in siddha. 49 In all these traditions, the humors are tied to health, as their imbalance or blockage can cause disease, and their relative strength can be manipulated through medicines, diet, and massage.