SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Gonsalves, Shirley Louise (2008) Community and identity: A case study of Luso Indian participation in the medical profession in nineteenth century Bombay. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

PDF - Submitted Version
Download (10MB) | Preview


This thesis examines the hypothesis that a pioneering group of Luso Indian medical doctors played a role in Western medicine in nineteenth century Bombay. The term Luso Indian is used here to refer specifically to indigenous Portuguese speaking Indians primarily from the populations known today as being East Indian and Goan. Chapter 1 of the thesis discusses definitions of 'community' and 'identity' in relationship to 'caste,' 'race' and 'religion.' The notion that our community formed a single and segregated entity is explored, using both official categories derived from the Census reports and ethnographical accounts and unofficial categories examined through an analysis of the popular Catholic press. Chapter 2 examines the role of Grant Medical College in providing a springboard for entry into the medical services of Colonial Bombay. While the majority Hindu and Muslim population were constrained from embarking on a career in medicine by cultural and religious taboos, a number of Luso Indians availed themselves of opportunities offered at the college. The chapter also explores the medical groups and associations which attempted to create a professional medical community. The third chapter provides a study of the intellectual milieu in Bombay during the nineteenth century and a case study of ten prominent Luso Indians involved in the medical profession. Two of the sample are women, both of them were the wives of medical men included in this study, one was a doctor in her own right. A database of biographical material relating to a larger sample of Luso Indians in the medical profession is presented in the Appendix. The thesis concludes by suggesting that these Luso Indians played an important role in the profession of Western medicine in India during this period.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:03

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item