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This book situates the Haj in the context of political, commercial, and medical developments in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It explores pilgrimage against the larger European politics around Mecca and discusses its organization, dynamics, and meanings. The author shows how Haj played an influential role in shaping medical policies and practices, debates, and disease definitions. He also examines the ways in which the pilgrimage was seen by ordinary pilgrims. The volume argues that despite the increasing 'medicalization' of the Haj, pilgrims from the subcontinent continued to view it as an intensely spiritual experience. This will interest scholars and students of history, particularly those concerned with issues of health and medicine in colonial India. It will also be useful for those interested in the history of the pilgrimage.
Saurabh Mishra did his D.Phil from University of Oxford.