- Hits: 1928
Berry White Medical School, Dibrugarh (Assam). Formerly tea gardens used to employ Board passed compounders who, after a certain number of years' garden work, used to be examined by a Board consisting of the Civil Surgeon, Lakhimpurs, and two European Medical Officers of the tea gardens. Dr. John Berry White, who was one of the members of the Bard, thought that a higher standard of efficiency in these medical subordinates was necessary. He donated a sum of Rs. 50,000 with which the Berry White Medial School was started in 1900 for training licentiates. The first Superintendent of the school was Major W.E.A. Hall, Civil Surgeon of Dibrugarh.
The Medical School at Hyderabad was unique because here for long teaching was imparted in Urdu language, this being the state language in the Nizam's territory. How the students were imparted education and how useful they ultimately proved to be, is interesting to know.
A General Order dated January 1840, by Major General Fraser, Resident of Hyderabad shows that a medical school was then in existence at Bolarum. Some information about this school is given in the friend of India of 13th August and 17 th September, 1846. IT was established in 1835 by Assistant Surgeon Thomas Key, Medical Store-Keeper and Simon Young, Staff Surgeon to the Hyderabad Contingent, to train medical subordinates of service in the contingent. This school was closed down in 1846, the demand for such subordinates having been sufficiently supplied. The closing down of this institution and the start of a new one is described in records in the National Archives, New Delhi.To begin with the number lf students admitted was limited to thirty. There was no discrimination in admission on the basis of religion or caste. But it was expected that the candidate "had sufficient private means to maintain himself, without assistance from the Government, of respectable connections and of fair preliminary education." In due course, small stipends were instituted at the instance of Dr. Maclean.
Dr. Maclean threw his heart into the development of the school. How well the school had begun functioning even within a short period of two years is evident from Examining Committee's Report of the year 1848 called for by the Court of Directors. It stated:
"The pupils (who were 17 in number, and has been under tuition about two years), were carefully examined by Assistant Surgeon G.Smith, upon the subject of Anatomy and Physiology. This examination which lasted one hour, comprehended the general, regional and surgical anatomy of the different parts of the body; all the questions proposed were answered without hesitation, and with an accuracy which called forth the entire approbation of the examiners. The satisfactory manner in which the pupils acquitted themselves throughout this long and searching trial of their knowledge, bore creditable testimony to their own industry and intelligence, and to care with which their studies had been directed. The subjects examined upon embraced an extensive range, and the questions were selected and put by the examiner alone. The heads of the examination included the osseous system generally bones of the cranium, face, vertebral column, pelvis, fore-arm, carpus and tarsus; the ligaments of the pelvis; muscles of the face, neck, arms, the intestines, the heart, aorta and its braches; anatomy of the neck and groins and of the subclavian artery; the peculiarities of the mucous membrane, structure of the skin, etc, etc.
"Superintending Surgeon McDonell then tested carefully the surgical knowledge possessed by the students. The questions proposed included the important topics of fractures, their kinds, and treatment; reparation of broken bone, treatment of disunited fractures and of false joints ; dislocation of the hip and shoulder ; hernia, especially direct and oblique inguinal, hydrocele, strictures of the urethra, the mode of treating infiltrations of urine, operation for puncturing the bladder etc."Dr. Walker next took up the subjects of Material Medica, Medical Jurisprudence and General Medicine. He strictly examined them upon narcotics, especially opium and its salts, hyoscyamus, conium, and digitalis ; upon mercurials, their actions, uses, and in what diseases principally employed ; poisoning by arsenic and the value of emetics, medico-legal analysis of the poisoned fluid, analysis by reduction and by liquid tests, etc., other questions bearing upon the same subjects being occasionally put by the examiners indiscriminately.
"The knowledge possessed by all, of the important branches of medical science upon which they were examined, was remarkable for its extent and accuracy. Even precaution was taken by the examiners to ascertain whether the knowledge instilled into them was of a showy and superficial, or of a solid and useful kind, and the conviction of the examiners is, that the information imparted to these medical pupils is of the most practically useful and substantial character; all who heard them that day must have been satisfied that the acquirements of these young natives were of no ordinary or superficial kind.
" The success which has attended Dr. Maclean's efforts is a good omen for the future, and the interest displayed by the pupils speaks as favourably for his energy, as their information does for his abilities as a teacher."
The school kept doing well as is evidenced from extracts of the Examining Committee's Report for the year 1852. This report also throws light on the method of teaching employed at the time. This report stated "Eighteen candidates presented themselves for examination, of whom twelve have passed through the whole curriculum of study, including Anatomy, Physiology, Surgery, Practice of Medi¬cine, Material Medica, and Midwifery; five have been instructed in all these branches,. Surgery excepted; and one is a young but remarkably intelligent student, whose time has been hitherto exclusively engaged with Anatomy, Physiology and Midwifery. "The standard of examination adopted by the Committee was that of the Royal Surgical Colleges of London and Edinburgh, and while none of the successful candidates failed of the standard, several acquitted themselves during the trial with distinction.
"The examination lasted 5 days, and was conducted in Hindustani, through an interpreter.
"It affords the Committee much satisfaction to recommend that the 10 pupils. . . be each presented with a diploma, qualifying him to practise Medicine, Surgery and Midwifery. . ."
"Viewing the Residency Medical School as hitherto an experimen¬tal institution, the present occasion, when 10 of its alumni have pass¬ed through a rigid and searching scrutiny of their medical acquire¬ments and qualification for practice, furnishes ample evidence of its answering the purpose intended. But to estimate the true value of the Establishment, its students must be followed in their professional labours through the neighbouring large and populous cities of Hydera¬bad, As proof of the confidence inspired by these educated youths, and as an earnest of the good that may be expected from them, it is encouraging to state that one of their members, Mohamed Ushruph, had already established a high reputation! among his countrymen as an operative surgeon, and earns, a comfortable competence by his practice. The members of the Examining Board were also much grati¬fied with the equal promptness and precision with which this excel¬lent pupil detected the nature of an old standing shoulder joint dislo¬cation, and the skill he disclosed in reducing a dislocation of the lower jaw in two patients who casually sought advice during the exa¬mination."
This Committee drew pointed attention to Dr. Maclean's method of teaching Western medicine in Urdu language to a "particular class of individuals--adult Mohammadans unacquainted with English", who were the pupils of this Chudderghat Medical School.
Dr. Maclean1s method of teaching consisted in repeated recapitu¬lation of the lessons, supported by .daily examination. The lectures were compiled from standard .works in medicine and translated into. Urdu. He was assisted in this by Sub-Assistant-Surgeon Murray who. 'had a good knowledge of Urdu, and by a munshi Meer Ahmed Ali Dr. Maclean added material, from his own' experience. Each student copied the lectures. The. work was difficult and slaw and required considerable patience and perseverance on the part of the teacher as well as students, particularly: so in the earlier stages. In respect of technical terms, which could not be conveniently translated intelli¬gently into Urdu, were retained: and taught in the original Latin.
While teaching in Urdu had its advantages, it had many obvious disadvantages. The Examining Committee in 1952, suggested "that it is far better for. the native pupil to acquire the language of his teacher and by doing so to open up for himself the whole field of Western science with all its concomitant advantages, than for the teacher laboriously to acquire his pupils' tongue and then impart a certain amount of knowledge which from the present experience can scarcely be added to. in the present state of Hindustani literature."
The success of Dr. Maclean and his i small band of assistants was indeed remarkable when judged against the background of the then pre¬vailing social conditions in 'Hyderabad. George Smith in his account of the Hyderabad Medical College succinctly summarized the situa¬tion thus: "In commencing his labours, Dr. Maclean found that the difficulties before him were. very considerable. He was single-handed, he had various and difficult subjects to. teach, subjects involving great responsibility on the part of bath the teacher and the taught; he had to. deliver instruction in a foreign tongue, to a people. full of preju¬dice, of inactive habits, and bf tastes more military than literary. He had to teach, translate, encourage, conciliate. He had to. create a demand for Western medical and surgical skill, where little want was felt or acknowledged. The pupils on their part had but little encouragement; their prospects were! somewhat distant and indefinite; more¬over, they were, exposed to the ridicule of some, and to the opposi¬tion of others, whose livelihood might afterwards be affected by their success. Besides this, there were, no text-books; moreover, the preli¬minary education acquired by the lads, was not of a kind to give a teacher any very- elevated platform of general knowledge, on which , to raise the superstructure of medical science."
Dr. Maclean and his associates! in the course of four decades (1850-1890) of hard work could translate into Urdu as many as forty text books in the different branches of medicine for use in Hyderabad school as well as in other medical schools in India.
In 1883,. the medium of instruction in the school was changed to English by the then principal Surgeon-Major Thomas Beaumont. In 1887, Dr Lawrie, the then principa1 of the school, reading an add¬ress at the time of the annual distribution of prizes, in the. presence of the Nizam, gave some details of the working of the school at that time.35 He said, "Up to the year 1884, when Dr. Beaumont introdu¬ced instruction in English, .all the teaching in the Medical School was carried on in Hindustani. There! were no English schools in our neighbourhood, and if the teaching had been in English, we should not have got any students at all. As the students acquired a know¬ledge of medicine, they also acquired a desire to- know English, for they discovered what we know to be the fact, that no text-books worthy of the name are written in Hindustani, that all improvements in medicine are recorded in English, and that the sources of their teachers' knowledge are to be found in English publications.' Coincidentally with the desire to learn English, English schools arose, and we are now surrounded by institutions Which turn out annually numbers of well-taught and well-educated youths, of whom we can get the pick for the medical school.
"We teach three classes of students in the Medical School to .which we intend shortly to add an ambulance class and a class of dais and nurses. The three classes are (1) Lady student, (2) Berar Hospital Assistants and (3) Hakim students. Lady students were added to our classes in 1886. With due regard to propriety, their education is pre¬cisely the same as that of the male students, and they have availed themselves of their opportunities so well that two of them at the last annual examination, Miss Boardman and Miss Furdonjee beat all the males and proved themselves the best students of the year.
"The second class of students we educate are the Berar Hospital Assistants. There has been. and is some difficulty in getting good men to join this class, and dissatisfaction at their position exists among the students, and no less also with their attainments among the administrative staff in Berar. The reasons of the state of feeling are that, on the one hand, the Hospital Assistants used to receive the ordinary education of native doctors, and when they passed, were expected to perform the work of Assistant Surgeons, for which they were not fitted. On the other hand, for the last few years their educa¬tion has been greatly improved and they now go through the same course as Hakims and Assistant Surgeons, pass' the same .examina¬tions, and after they pass, perform the same duties. But, whereas, the pay of Assistant Surgeons and Hakims ranges from one hundred to three hundred rupees a month and more, that of the Berar Hospital Assistants ranges from Rs. 25 to 60. I would suggest that the sub¬ordinate Medical Service of Berar should be placed on the same footing as that of the rest of India and that those students of this class, who pass out at the next examination, should be gazetted to the pay and position of Assistant Surgeons instead of those of Hospital Assistants or Native Doctors.
"The third class of our students is the Hakim class. There is some misunderstanding about the meaning of the word Hakim. In Hydera¬bad it is' the title which Government confers on the graduates of the Medical School, and signifies precisely the same in His Highness' dominions as Doctor does with us. There are two points to consider with reference to this Class: (1) the advantages they possess as stu¬dents, and (2) those they have to look forward after they pass and become qualified. As students they are taught in the same way as medical students are taught in Europe, - they obtain a good theoreti¬cal education in the school and a sound practical education in the Afzulgung and Residency Hospitals. After the' students pass, two annual educational appointments are open to the best men of the year --the House Surgeoncy of the Afzulgung Hospital and a Demonstra¬torship of Anatomy in the school, and all who pass are well-fitted for Government and private appointments. The appointments open to our graduates are the civil and. military surgeoncies of His Highness' Government and private appointments in the families of city nobles, all of them carrying with them the privilege of private practice. The civil and military appointments of the 'Nizam's Service are very much the same as those in British India; but, unlike those in British India, they are all independent charges, and are slightly better paid."
Chudderghat Medical School was not affiliated to any university in India, but its course of study was accepted as qualifying for exami¬nation by the University and Royal Colleges of Edinburgh.
Regularisation of Teaching in Medical Schools Before 1872 there was a great difference in the admission rules, teaching curriculum, syllabi, duration of the course, etc., in different medical schools in Bengal and in other parts of the country. In order to bring uniformity in the pattern of admission to medical schools in Bengal Presidency and other places, in 1872 new rules were framed for the selection and training of native medical pupils in these schools. The General Order outlining these rules, stated as follows:
1. Committees will be convened for the purpose of examining candidates for admission into grade of native medical pupils in each of the stations of the Bengal Presidency to which Deputy Inspectors General of Hospitals are attached, or at such other stations as may be selected by the Inspector General ,of Hospitals on such date as may be fixed by the Inspector-General of Hospitals.
2. Committees for the examination of candidates will be convened by the officer commanding the station, upon the requisition of the Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals, and will consist of two Medi¬cal Officers and an interpreter or if two Medical Officers are not avail¬able, of a Medical Officer, a Combatant Officer, and an Interpreter, one or, if necessary, two educated natives competent to examine in Urdu and Hindi, a regimental munshi and pandit.
3. An officer of the civil education establishment, or a teacher in a medical school, as. may be suggested by the Deputy Inspector Gene¬ral of Hospitals, will be appointed to attend the Committee for the purpose of assisting in testing the qualifications of candidates in the vernacular.
4. The number of candidates required will. be intimated by the Inspector General of Hospitals. The names of candidates found quali¬fied will be placed in order of merit, and those in excess of the number assigned, at once told that their services are not required.
5. The candidates must be between the age of 15 and 20 years.
6. The names of candidate_ desiring t9' enter the grade of native medical pupil will be registered in the offices of Deputy Inspector General, who will examine their testimonials, satisfy themselves" of their sufficiency and genuineness and cause descriptive rolls to be carefully prepared, showing: Name, Age, Caste, Father's name, City, town or village, District or Pergannah, Personal peculiarities, height, habit of body (stout, slender etc.), colour or complexion, hair and eyes, peculiar marks (small-pox, cicatrices, teeth etc.). If the testimonials presented are-not signed or, counter-signed by persons whose name and position are a sufficient guarantee of the respectability of the candidate, enquiries should be made to remove any doubts on the subject. The name of a candidate who "brings no testimonials, or who is manifestly unfit physically for the duties of a soldier, should not be registered.
7. Admission; to the grade of Native medical pupil is. equally open to the sons of soldiers and of persons engaged in civil occupations.
8. The preference. in selection, attainments being equal, will be given to those who have already been attached to or served in civil or regimental hospitals. Beyond this, preference will not be given to men of any particular class; but respectable young men are encouraged to offer themselves, bringing certificates of character from the Inspector or Head Masters of schools, or gentlemen, European or Native, whose name and position shall be a sufficient guarantee of the candidate's fitness for the service of Government.
9. The Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals is to prepare a general roll of all candidates, which will be laid before the committee, the qualifications column being left blank for the committee to fill up.
10. All candidates will be required to possess a competent know¬ledge of Urdu or Hindi, and although a knowledge of English will not be insisted on, a preference in selection is to be given to those candidates who possess a competent knowledge' of English in addition to their own vernacular.
11. The examination will consist of: (1) Reading with fluency a pass¬age of some well known work in Urdu and Hindi; (2) Explaining the meaning of words and phrases; (3) Reading with fluency a passage written in a fairly legible hand in Urdu and Hindi; (4) Writing from dictation in Urdu and Hindi; the writing and spelling should be care¬fully examined; (5) Arithmetic as far as Rule of Three; (6) If English is professed, the test laid down in G.G.O No. 945 of 1868 should be the guide, a knowledge of prescriptions not being required. .
12. The Committee should satisfy themselves regarding age and physical fitness of candidates; examine their credentials and carefully identify them by comparing them with the descriptive roll.
13. These examinations an final as regards admission into the Hospital Assistant Class but it is desirable that Principals of Schools should test the qualifications of pupils and their fitness to profit by the course of instruction of the school. The result of such exami¬nation should be reported to the Inspector General of Hospitals.
14. The result of the examination will be shown by a descriptive roll which will be signed by the members of the Committee, and sub¬mitted through the Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals to the Ins¬pector General, who will submit the names of successful candidates to Government with the least possible delay; the names will then be published in General Orders.
15. Native medical pupils will, under instructions from the Ins¬pector General of Hospitals, be attested and distributed to hospitals and dispensaries by the Deputy Inspector' General. The following is the form of attestations:
1. . . . . of. . . . Zillah. . . . . son of. . . . . do swear that I shall never forsake or abandon my colours, that I will march wherever I am directed, whether within or beyond Her Majesty's Indian Terri¬tories, that I will implicitly obey all the orders of my commanders, and in everything behave myself as becomes a good soldier and a faithful servant of Her Majesty, and failing in any part of my duty as such, I will submit to the penalties described in the Articles of War which have been read to me. I further engage to serve Government as a Hospital Assistant for 7 years after I have been; declared qualified for that grade and I hereby engage if I volunta¬rily seek my discharge before the expiry of that period to refund all and 3:ny money which I may have drawn from Government in the form 'of pay or allowance of any sort. Pupils win be required to sign a declaration engaging to serve the