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Dr. Sangeeta Roy Chowdhury


Rajbanshis, Traditional health care practices, Culture change, Colonial intervention, Modernization, Post independent health care reform


Researchers apprehend that local health traditions prevalent among indigenous communities have plausible chance for extinction in near future. Whether or not total extinction is possible is a matter of debate. But worldwide present trend indicates a changing pattern of traditional health culture with corresponding change in modernization induced societal transformation in indigenous communities. This study attempts to understand the change in health care practices of Rajbanshis - one least studied indigenous population of Koch Bihar district of West Bengal. It focuses on the introduction of allopathic system of medicine in the study area  as colonial and post-colonial intervention and its effect on the traditional health seeking behaviour of the study population. Around this central idea, a population based cross sectional study with a mixed method approach was adopted. The research was carried out during March to May of 2016 among 420 households of 9 rural blocks and 3 urban wards of Koch Bihar municipality of the district. The statistical analysis was performed using MS Excel (version 10). This study finds out that the effect of modernization has removed cultural resistance to change and induced material change in the society. It concludes that the gradual response to new system of medicine has given rise to a new health culture and once dominant traditional health culture has given its way to modern allopathic system and existence of multiple health care traditions has become prominent.

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