Thwarted ambition and disappointing careers?
Narratives of the Indian Medical Service
in Medical misadventure in an age of professionalisation, 1780–1890
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Appointment to the Indian Medical Service (IMS) has been construed as instrumental in making individual fortunes or reputations, and in advancing medical professionalisation. The IMS originated in the early seventeenth century as an adjunct to the military and trading ambitions of the East India Company (EIC). This chapter explores three routes of narratives of the IMS. The first is through an analysis of the aggregate practitioner experience that may be gleaned from D.G. Crawford's Roll of the Indian Medical Service. The second strategy is to review the notice given to conditions of IMS in the lay and medical press. The third opportunity is offered by the letters, diaries, and memoirs written by men during or after their service in India. The chapter examines narratives from men in IMS service to reveal the same concerns that troubled their medical counterparts in Britain around professional opportunity, patronage, income, expenditure, and promotion.


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