Homeopathy came to India as early as 1810 (Birth Year of Homeopathy in the world). Hence, the roots/ history of homeopathy in India are as old as the birth of homeopathy. It is said that German physicians and geologists with a few of his countrymen, came to India for the purpose of geological investigations. He distributed homeopathic medicines to the local people during his stay in Bengal.
During the same period, Dr. Muller of the London missionary society distributed homeopathic medicines to the people of Bhowanipur, Calcutta. Dr. John Martin Honigberger, a disciple of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, visited India and treated patients. The exact date of their first visit of Honigberger to India is not known. On his second visit in the year 1839, he treated the then ruler of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh with “Dulcamara”.
Maharaja was so happy with the results that he encouraged him to continue the homeopathic practice in India. But due to the selfishness of the local hakims and vaidyas homeopathy did not get due respect there. In the year 1852, Honigberger published a book by the title “Thirty five years in the east, adventures, discoveries, experiments, and historical a sketches, relating Punjab, and Kashmir, in connection with medicine, botany, pharmacy etc, together with an original materia medica and a medical vocabulary in four European and five eastern languages”.
Around about 1860, he practiced in Calcutta and there he was famously known as a “Cholera doctor”. Homeopathy continued to spread and Indians found a reflection of their belief and culture in its philosophy and principles. The ancient Hindu physicians had, in fact, recognized the “Law of Similia” as one of the principles of treatment. In the year 1846-47, Surgeon Samuel Brooking, a retired Medical Officer established a homeopathic hospital at Tanjore, and Puducotta places in Tamilnadu, South India. He did it with the support of local Rajas of this place. But the actual development and support were given to homeopathy in the state of Bengal.
Pioneers like Dr. Cooper and Dr. J. Ruther ford Russell, two Government Medical Officers, Mr. H. Ryper, a military pensioner, Captain May, and others of Calcutta, made homeopathy popular among the masses of Bengal. At this moment, homeopathy was largely and successfully practiced by amateur practitioners. People from civil and military services practiced and treated many cholera cases successfully. Among them, Mr.Ed.D’Latour and Maulavie Ziauddin Hossein are worth mentioning.
In the year 1851, the honorable deputy governor of Bengal Sir John Hunter Littler started the “Native homeopathic hospital and free dispensary”. Dr. C. J. Tonnere, M.D. the French converted homeopath was appointed as the physician in charge of this hospital. But this hospital failed to attract the attention of the common public.
In 1861, a virulent epidemic of malarial fever was raging over lower Bengal. At this time great philanthropist and lay medical person Babu Rajendra Lal Dutt, truly laid the foundation of homeopathy and practiced homeopathy with great results. In fact, he played a major role in bringing Dr.Tonnere to India. He was the person who converted the allopath Dr. Mahendra Lal Sircar, M.D. D.L., C.I. E. to homeopathy.
It is said that Rajendra babu was the neighbor of Dr.Sarkar and many cases that were termed incurable by many leading allopathic practitioners as well as Sarkar, were improved by Rajendra babu. Being a practical person, Sarkar decided to find out the effectiveness of the homeopathic system with his clinical trials. He did them under the guidelines of Rajendra babu. Dr.Sarkar was totally convinced and was astonished by the efficacy of the homeopathic medicines in such cases where allopathic medicines could do nothing.
Totally convinced by the beauty of the system of Hahnemann, he went through the entire homeopathic literature. In the year 1862, the first journal on homeopathy named “The Calcutta journal of medicine” was published and edited by Dr. M.L. Sarkar. On the 16th day of February 1867, he presented a paper in the meeting held at the British medical association, Calcutta branch, in which he openly declared his conversion to homeopathy. The title of the paper was “on the supposed uncertainty in medical science and on the relationship between disease and their remedial agents”. Many of the allopathic medical personalities ridiculed him for his decision but failed to break the faith of Dr.Sarkar in his subject of choice.
In the year 1863, Rajendra babu treated his relative of the royal family by the name of Raja Sir Radha Kanta Bahadur, who was suffering from traumatic gangrene of the foot. Within a few months of his treatment, Raja recovered from his illness in an impressive manner. In 1863, he also treated Pundit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar successfully with his chronic illness.
Dr. P.C. Majumdar, M.D. another homeopath of Calcutta, started his practice in 1864 and laid the foundation of Calcutta Homeopathic Medical College in1885. French homeopathic practitioner Dr. Bergny, Dr. B. L. Bhaduri, L.M.S, Dr.B.N.Benerzee, Dr. D. N. Roy, Dr. Younon, Dr. Ashen Kumar Dutt, Dr.Chandra Shekar Kali, Dr.J.N.Majumdar, Dr.N.M.Chowdary, Dr.Baridbaran Mukherjee, Dr, S.K.Nga and Dr. Slazar, of the University of Vienna, who played a role in the conversion of Dr. P. C. Majumdar to homeopathy, are worth mentioning for their effective role in the development of homeopathy in India.
The Banaras Homeopathic Hospital was established in the year 1867, with Shri Loke Nath Moitra as Physician In-charge. In August 1869, a homeopathic charitable dispensary was started at Allahabad with Shri PriyaNath Bose, a layperson as the Physician In-charge of the dispensary. Through such activities, homeopathy started becoming popular all over the country.
Rev. Father Muller, Missionary of Mangalore in the South; Mr. P. Subbarayulu, lawyer of Kakinada in the East; and Mr. V. M. Kulkarni, telegrapher of Bombay in the west are some personalities who contributed to the development of homeopathy in India. Homeopathy became more prominent with the opening of several dispensaries in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Sri Mahesh Chandra Bhattacharya started manufacturing and distributing good-quality homeopathic remedies at a cheaper rate. He also published a homeopathic pharmacopeia both in English and Bengal. As the popularity of homeopathy started growing in India, there felt a lack of properly trained homeopaths in the country. At this moment, there came the rise of the bogus institutions issuing bogus certificates, and quackery in homeopathy started rising. With these entire unfavorable incidents, homeopathy was looked upon as fraud by the qualified public.
A group of qualified homeopaths came forward to control such a damaging situation and convinced the members of the central legislative assembly to take proper action. Recognition of Homeopathy by Government in the year 1932, the first session of all India homeopathic medical association (AIHMA) was held in Calcutta under the presidentship of Dr. Younan.
In the year 1936, the first homeopathic resolution was passed with a majority of votes in the central legislative assembly. In April 1937, Mohammad Ghias-ud-idin, M.L.A. moved a resolution in the Legislative Assembly for its recognition. The resolution was passed and forwarded to the State Governments for its implementation. With the interest of the Bengal homeopaths, the general council and state faculty of homeopathic medicine was passed on the 24th of June 1941.
Bengal is the first province to constitute a Homeopathic State Faculty in 1943. Dr. Sarath Chandra Ghosh, M.D was the key person in the implementation of such activities.
All India Institute of homeopathy, Delhi was formed by the then government in the year 1944. Dr. K.G. Saxena was the founder and general secretary of the institution. Other founder members were Dr. A. N. Mukharjee, Dr. Diwan Jai Chand, Dr. Daya Shankar Kayastha, Dr. J.P. Srivastava, and Dr. S. P. Asthana.
After independence on 17th February 1948 Shri Satish Chandra Samanta, M.P. (West Bengal), Sri Mohan Lal Saxena, Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramiah, and Lata Deshbhandu Gupta, moved a resolution.
The resolution stated, “This Assembly is of opinion that homeopathic system of treatment be recognized by the Indian Union and that a General Council and a State Faculty of homeopathic medicine be established at once”. This resolution was unanimously accepted and Government appointed a homeopathic inquiry committee on the 30th day of September 1948. The committee submitted its report considering and recommending homeopathy as the scientific system of medicine in 1949. In 1952, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, the first Union Health Minister of independent India appointed a Homeopathic Adhoc Committee which functioned up to 1954.
In 1954, the Government of India constituted a homeopathic advisory committee, this advisory committee was taken over by the Minister of Health and Secretary. Ministry of Health became its first Chairman. The government of India in 1962 appointed Dr. K. G. Saxena as the first Honorary homeopathic Advisor. A Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Committee was also established in 1962 to lay down the standard for homeopathic drugs. Dr. B.K.Sarkar was the chairman of this committee.
In 1969, for the development of the Indian system of medicine and homeopathy (ISM & H), an autonomous council was established. The government of India has taken steps for the development of homeopathy by establishing the:
- The central council of homeopathy.
- The central council for research in homeopathy.
- The national institute of homeopathy.
- The homeopathic pharmacopeia laboratory.
The Homeopathic Enquiry Committee in 1949 recommended that the Central Council of Homeopathic Medicine should be established. The basic concepts of Indian Medicine were different from the fundamentals of homeopathy therefore; a separate Council of Homeopathy was needed. C.C.H is the apex body constituted for standardizing the course, syllabus, and standard of education of homeopathy in India.
It has the power to maintain uniform standards in the homeopathic institutions all over India. On 17th December 1973, the Central Council of Homeopathy (C.C.H) was established by the Government of India with the enactment of the Central Council of Homeopathy Act, 1973 with the following objectives.
1. To evolve uniform standards of education in homeopathy, like minimum eligibility for admission, duration of the course of training, etc.
2. Details of curricula and syllabi of studies of homeopathy.
3. Uniform title of degree and diploma all over India.
4. Uniform courses of study of not less than four years duration.
5. Maintain a central register of practitioners of homeopathy.
6. By registration ensures that medicine is not practiced by those who are not qualified in this system.
7. Those who practice observing a code of ethics in the profession.
The Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (C.C.R.H.) till 1978 there was a composite Central Council for Research in Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy. This composite council undertook systematic research in Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani Medicine, Yoga, Nature cure, and Homeopathy. The Central Council for Research in Homeopathy was formally constituted on 30th March 1978, as the policy, directions and overall guidance for the activities of the Council are provided by the Governing Body. The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare is the President of the Governing Body and has general control over the affairs of the Council and has the authority to exercise all the powers.
It is assisted by a Standing Finance Committee for considering the budget proposals and a Scientific Advisory Committee. The Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy in the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare which is headed by a Secretary, administers various schemes for strengthening research institutions and renders advice on the implementation and monitoring of various research programs. In 1978, a separate Central Council for Research in Homeopathy was established.
This was constituted as an autonomous organization and was registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860. It was, however, only in January 1979 that the Council started functioning as an independent organization. The aim of this council is to encourage research in homeopathy by constructing scientific projects in this field. This council is working under the ministry of health and family welfare, the government of India. Many branches have been established and almost all the states of India work under the consultation of the central body. Periodically, the council organizes seminars and workshops to improve the scientific standards of homeopaths and teaching faculties in the various institutions.
The objectives of C.C.R.H are:
1. To formulate aims and patterns of research on scientific lines in homeopathy.
2. To undertake research or other programs, the prosecution and assistance in research, the propagation of knowledge, and experimental measures relating to the cause and prevention of the disease.
3. To initiate, develop and coordinate scientific research in fundamental and applied aspects of homeopathy.
4. To exchange information with other institutions, associations, and societies interested in objects similar to those of the Central Council and especially in the observation and study of diseases.
5. To promote and assist institutions of research for the study of diseases, their prevention, and cure, especially with an emphasis on covering the rural population of the country.
6. To prepare, print publishes, and exhibit papers, posters, pamphlets, periodicals, and books for the furtherance of the object of the Central Council and to contribute to such literature.
7. To offer prizes and grant scholarships in furtherance of the objectives of the Council. The National Institute of Homeopathy (N.I.H.) National Institute of homeopathy, an autonomous organization was established on 10th December 1975 in Calcutta under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India.
The Institute is under the control of a governing body constituted by the Dept. of AYUSH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and Govt. of India. The Institute is affiliated with the West Bengal University of Health Sciences. The Institute is functioning on 16 acres of land at Block – GE, Sector-III, Salt Lake, Calcutta – 700 106. It is one of the largest homeopathic institutions in the world.
Presently conducts the degree course in homeopathy like Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (B.H.M.S.) since 1987 and Post -Graduate course i.e. Doctor of Medicine in Homeopathy (M.D. (Hom.)) in three subjects i.e. Organon of Medicine, Repertory and Materia Medica since 1988.
Institute also runs a teachers training course and departs training to students in different disciples of medicine and paramedical courses and also nurses. This center has various departments and facilities like hospitals with an outpatient dept. and a 60 bedded in-patient department along with investigative facilities. A beautiful auditorium of 800 seating capacity and well constructed and comfortable hostels for boys (250 – seated) and girls (70 – seated), a Staff Quarters, and a guest house is provided on the campus of N.I.H.
The objectives of N.I.H. are
1. To promote the growth and development of homeopathy.
2. To produce graduates and post-graduates in homeopathy.
3. To conduct research on various aspects of homeopathy.
4. To provide medical care through homeopathy to the suffering humanity.
5. To provide and assist in providing services and facilities for research, evaluation, training, consultation, and guidance related to homeopathy.
6. To conduct experiments and develop patterns of teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate education on various aspects of homeopathy.
The Homeopathic Pharmacopeia Laboratory (H.P.I.) This laboratory was established to enforce standardization, quality control, and quality awareness, standardizing the raw materials used in the preparation of homeopathic medicines in India. The laboratory is situated in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. This laboratory is equipped with a modern computerized data bank with details of over 4500 items of medicinal plants. Because of the efforts of this laboratory, it is possible today to prepare indigenous homeopathic medicines of international standards in India.
The 6-volume homeopathic pharmacopeia was published by the government of India. The former director of the homeopathic pharmacopeia laboratory released a 2 volume of pharmacopeia by the name “the encyclopedia of homeopathic pharmacopeia”. This book with 2000 pages is published by the famous B. Jain publishers.
The aims and objects of this homeopathic pharmacopeia laboratory are
1. Fixation of the standards of raw materials used in the preparation of the homeopathic drugs.
2. Finding and verifying the medicinal standards.
3. Testing of the surveyed and referred drug samples.
4. Supply of preparation standards o other institutions,
5. Setting and recommending the samples of consumption.
6. Preparation of herbarium shoots.
7. Collection and survey of the medicinal plants.
8. Conducting the Tissue culture studies etc.
Uniform Education in Homeopathy at diploma and graduate-level was enforced in the country in the year 1983. The forum for post-graduation has also been notified by the Central Council of Homeopathy. The M.D degree courses were first time introduced by the central council of homeopathy in the gazette of India on 16th November 1989. The place of homeopathy in India today equals any other medical degree.
The state and central governments in India have been supporting this system by establishing homeopathic dispensaries and hospitals periodically. Not only this but many numbers of private homeopathic medical colleges have been started in India. The popularity of the homeopathic system in India is growing day by day.