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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: March 2008

2 - Science under the company

The English East India Company was as old as modern science itself. The sciences prominent in early colonial India, such as botany, geology, to a lesser extent zoology, were still at a formative stage when the Company embarked on its career of territorial expansionism in the mid-eighteenth century. Much of the scientific endeavour of the Company period took place outside, or on the margins of, state institutions. In India, the close association between botany and medicine was strengthened by the cost-driven search for local substitutes for imported drugs and the need to know the names and properties of plant medicines used by Indian physicians. Of all the sciences of Company India, botany was surely the least 'provincial' and the most closely embroiled with metropolitan science. Along with medicine, botany was one of the principal channels through which the concept of a tropical India became established in colonial discourse.
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Science, Technology and Medicine in Colonial India
  • Online ISBN: 9781139053426
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