Kanosa- Lending an Ear to the Body and Mind Secrets of Rural Women:Thoughts on Health and Modernity

Satlaj Dighe


This review article discusses the text Kanosa - Grameen Streechya Sharir ani Manatil Gupitancha, translated as ‘Lending an Ear to the Secrets of Body and Mind of the Rural Woman’ by Dr. Rani Bang. The original text provides detailed information on various life-cycle health experiences of women; illness categories (nosography); health practices; sexualities; diets and local life-worlds of health and bodily experiences based on the in depth discussions with local women. In the context of current trends and prevailing ideologies in the community health sector of India, our critical review highlights the significance of the approach adopted by Dr. Rani Bang in locating health as an integral part of culture.We seek to introduce important discussions in Bang’s text on ethnophysiology, local categories of diseases and their implications on modern community health interventions, as ell as the definitions of the normal, abnormal and pathological as provided by the local community. In light of these discussions, we  examine certain characteristics of the modern Indian community health sector such as its inability to work with local epistemologies of health and illness and its philosophical reliance on Cartesian dualism and western notions of personhood. Certain features of community health such as complete separation of fertility and sexuality as well as the exclusively nutritional approach to dietary phenomena are also reviewed with reference to Kanosa and other significant literature.



Local cosmology of health, women’s health, Reproductive-heath, Ethnophysiology, Community Health

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/hcs.2011.42


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