SHOWNOTES: Chatroom 2
Bombay as Plague City
feat. Tarangini Sriraman
We visit Bombay Presidency at the turn of the 20th century. The port city was a major economic hub, so, when rats onboard ships from Hong Kong carried bubonic plague into Bombay in August 1896, the British Raj reacted vehemently to tamp it down.
There were a multitude of experiences of the plague and disease control, often delineated by class and caste. Maybe you’ve noticed this with Covid19, too?
Cities were divided into white town — the colonial enclave — and black towns — for Indians. And when plague hit, the authorities destroyed houses, precipitating a housing crisis.
We discuss some of these themes with Tarangini Sriraman, a historian at Azim Premji University in Bangalore.
03:00 – Earliest forms of ID used in India
04:00 – Before plague, there was famine
06:41 – What Bombay was like
09:45 – White vs. Black town
14:13 – Epidemic Diseases Act was set up
22:11 – Caste and experience of disease
29:19 – Will government power last? Or will people find ways to subvert it?
Tarangini. 2018. In Pursuit of Proof: A History of Identification Documents in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.