The Tamil Nadu State Archives (formerly Madras State Archives) hold the administrative records of the Tamil Nadu (Madras) State government.
The records relating to leprosy span the years 1917 through 1944, and can be found in the following categories: Local and Municipal Department/Medical Department (1917-1921); Government of Madras Local Self-Government Department (1922-1930); Public Health (1931-1944); Education and Public Health Department (1945-1949); and Health and Family Planning Department (1964-1973).
A catalogue with more information on these files can be accessed here (PDF, 94 pages).
The majority of these documents are associated with the establishment, funding, management, and maintenance of leprosy settlements and hospitals, including those at Banglore, Bapatala (Bapatla), Bhavani, Chevayur, Chingleput (Tirumani/Lady Willingdon Settlement), Cuddalore, Ethapur (Ettapur) Children’s Leprosy Sanatorium (Salem), Hemerijckx Leprosy Centre (Polambakkam), Kodur, Kumbakonam, Madras, Manamadura, Mangalore (Manglore), Mayuram, Narsapur Kistna, Peddunayakanapalaiyam (Periyanaickenpalayam), Polambakkam, Ramachandrapuram, Saluru, Silver Jubilee Clinic (Saidapet), Thirumangalam, Tholurpatty, Tirukoilur, Tondiarpet, Trichinopoly, Vadagarai, Vadathorasalur, Vellore, Vizianagram (Vizianagaram), and others.
In particular, many of the files relate to the institution at Chingleput (aka Tirumani/Lady Willingdon Settlement/Central Leprosy Training and Research Institute [CLTRI]): the construction of new facilities; provision of supplies, equipment, and treatments; organisation of events and courses; appointment and training of staff; transfer of patients between institutions; discharge of inmates for disciplinary reasons; and admission of special cases, such as refugee, ex-military, and Anglo-Indian patients.
The archives also document the governmental administration of leprosy control programs in India, with files including copies of legislation, correspondence related to legislation and government control policy, the appointment of officials, and other administrative records. Some files of interest relate to the complaints of local residents, such as a petition about the ‘nuisance’ caused by leprosy patients, and letters expressing concern that leprosy settlements presented a danger to the public.
The contributions to anti-leprosy work of organisations such as BELRA (British Empire Leprosy Relief Association), the European Association of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ELEP/ILEP, referred to as European Leprosy Eradication Programme [sic]), the Red Cross, UNICEF, the Far Eastern Association of Tropical Medicine (FEATM), and Hind Kusht Nivaran Sangh (HKNS) are occasionally recorded here. A few documents relate to the International Leprosy Congresses held in Berlin (1924), Cairo (1939), and Havana (1948).
The files enable the researcher to trace the shift in the approach to leprosy control in India through the twentieth century: from the early system of isolation and asylums to treatment within the general health system (through the establishment of outpatient clinics, temporary dispensaries, etc).
Entry updated February 2016