Florence Nightingale and the Health of the Raj presents in detail Nightingale's involvement with India and Indians, and shows how she progressed from being concerned with the narrow sphere of army sanitation to the socio-economic condition of the whole of India. Despite her interest in the country, Florence Nightingale never actually visited India, yet she still managed to instigate and inspire a number of sanitary and social reforms there.
Starting in 1857 with army sanitation she had by the end of her involvement with India in 1896 shifted her attention to such social issues as village sanitation and female education. In between she was involved with the development of hospitals, irrigation, famine relief, the land tenure system in Bengal, urban sanitation, and female nursing. In Florence Nightingale and the Health of the Raj, Jharna Gourlay covers all these aspects of Florence Nightingale's work, tracing her political involvement and her growing awareness of Indian problems, showing how she gradually moved from an imperialist position to one advocating power sharing with Indians. Her story is also one of how a private individual without official position, moreover a woman in a patriarchal society, could influence government policy and public opinion on matters of immense importance. Based on primary sources from both Britain and India, particularly her own correspondence and articles, this book tells Florence Nightingale's story through her own words, whilst simultaneously placing it in the wider historical context.
As such it will prove a fascinating and illuminating study for a wide range of scholars interested in nineteenth century imperialist, medical, gender and social history.