The architecture of public health trusts in colonial Bombay


  • Dr Brenna Bhandar

    School of Oriental and African Studies

  • Ms Vinita Gatne

    Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  • Mr Ranjit Kandalgaonkar

    Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Project summary

Throughout the 19th century, thousands of charitable trusts for the provision of public health were established and built in the city of Bombay. Using a combination of archival research and workshop discussions with people drawn from medicine, anthropology, architecture and visual arts, the project seeks to answer four questions. 

How did communities take proactive steps to establish and run trusts outside of the government within informal networks? How was public health facilitated through the trust, and how was it used to meet the basic needs of communities for human welfare, the provision of sanitation, and sanctuaries for those afflicted with diseases such as TB and leprosy? What role did trusts for health provision play in the urban development of Bombay? Finally, how might visual artists represent the historical development of these trusts to engage Mumbai’s public on the topic of community-run health provision?