In view of the present situation in India, it seems advisable to place on record a short general review of the position of psychiatry there, and of the difficulties that have delayed improvement during the twenty years of my own experience. Having joined the Department in 1906, and having served in it since then, as Medical Superintendent, in succession, of the Punjab Asylum, Lahore, the Burma Asylum, Rangoon, and the Central Hospital for Mental Diseases, Yeravda, Poona (the last since 1912), I feel qualified to criticize it now. From 1912 until my retirement in 1926 I was the Senior Officer of the Department. By the term “Alienist Department of India” I refer to the system of asylums and mental hospitals “established” or “licensed” by the Provincial Governments for the treatment of mental disorders under the Indian Lunacy Act of 1912, and to the small group of specialists who have managed them, both before and since the coming of that Act into force. Only those institutions “established” by Government need be considered, because, as far as I am aware, no private “licensed” hospitals exist. This fact alone indicates the degree of interest that the more educated Indians take in the treatment of mental disease. The Parsis, however, have, in my experience, done a good deal to ameliorate the condition of the insane in Bombay, but this race is a small one, numbering only some 101,000.
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