Bombay Sanitary Association

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Bombay Sanitary Association was inaugurated on 11 January 1904 by Lord Lamington, the governor of Bombay and was one of the first organizations to crusade against the alleged filthy living habits of millworkers. It was founded by John A Turner, the municipal health officer of Bombay. Millowners such as Dorab J Tata, Currimbhoy Ebrahim, Jehangir Boman Petit and professional Indians such as Dr Jehangir J Cursetji, and Dr S S Batliwalla were its members. BSA obtained annual grants from the municipality and the provincial government and Mill owners of Bombay and groups such as the Royal Sanitary Association of London also provided financial aid. The stated objectives of the BSA were “to create an educated public opinion with regard to sanitation in general, to diffuse knowledge of sanitation and hygiene generally, and prevention of spread of disease by means of leaflets, lectures and practical demonstration. It concentrated on the E, F and G wards where most of the mills and mill workers were concentrated. To disseminate knowledge of sanitation and methods of disease prevention among mill workers and their families, the BSA employed male and female health visitors who were trained in the sanitary classes of the BSA, and were posted in different municipal wards and were assigned a list of unsanitary chawls to visit morning and evening.In 1906, BSA began an informal training program for chawl caretakers or bhayas. For small monetary rewards, these caretakers were asked to monitor the “cleanliness of rooms and latrines, periodic lime washing, ventilation, overcrowding of rooms and wastage of water.

For Further Reading: Priyanks Srivastava, 2012 : Creating a Healthy and ‘Decent’ Industrial Labour Force: Health, Sanitation, and Welfare in Colonial Bombay, 1896-1945