D Banerji: Antiseptic 1962, 59, 125-29.

Before the advent of western system of medicine in the eighteenth century, the practice of the empirical indigenous system of medicine of very high standard was in vogue in India. However, with growing industrialization in Europe allopathic system made spectacular progress of which Indian sub continent could not remain unaffected during British rule. As a result, indigenous systems of medicine declined and became more or less cult of the quacks. Only a small fraction of the educated Indians have a chance to acquire knowledge of western medicine and only a few could afford to avail these services while millions of Indians living all over the country had very little use of very advanced medical institutions based in big cities. Even after 14 years of political independence India continues to be the home of preventable epidemics as well as has high incidence of innumerable communicable diseases. Extreme poverty is perhaps the most important factor responsible for the poor state of health of the people in India. A plan for having better nutrition, better water supply, housing and better education will certainly result in great improvement in the national health. In the initial stage of social development all efforts should be directed to provide basic elementary medical and public health services to the entire population. The doctor going to work in an interior village in India must have a wide and varied knowledge of the preventive and curative aspects of medicine, all specialization rolled into one. The state must provide free medical care to all, particularly to the poor. In the concept of socialized medicine there is no place of top sided approach of having highly trained doctors who have nothing to offer to the public other than some useless mixtures. What is urgently needed is a social transformation of the practice of public health and medicine in India.