Although coronavirus has taught many of us words like Quarantine & lockdown, isolation of humans have been a norm at our place from as long back as 19th century.
Rajasthan, the desert state of India was known as Rajputana earlier. Kingdom of Mewar was a princely state in its Southern part. My city Udaipur was then the capital of Mewar State.
Pandemics ain't new to this region. Infectious diseases like plague, cholera, smallpox and measles were a common occurrence within past two hundred years. A long famine was often followed by these infectious diseases.
So Mewar State adopted preventive measures around 1661 CE. Maharana Raj Singh constructed a huge lake called Rajsamand around that period to protect people from famine.
During the reign of Maharana Shambhu Singh (1861-1874 CE), entire Rajputana state faced a severe famine. In 1869 CE, it decimated about 20% of the population of Rajputana. Mewar state also lost a lot of people during that disaster. It was followed by epidemics like plague and cholera. Many nobles suggested Maharana Shambhu Singh to leave Udaipur at that time but he chose to stay back and serve his people here.
Kesari Singh Kothari, the then Pradhan (a.k.a. Prime Minister), was directed to provide food shelter and medicine to all the affected. Mewar state exempted all taxes and duties. Not only that, Maharana also provided a huge grant of Rs. 11,000 for resettlement of the refugee coming from different parts of the Rajputana, after the the epidemic was over.
At that time, the first state dispensary was opened at Udaipur (in 1862). Two years later, he also provided accommodation for patients there.
In 1890-1892 CE, as the cholera and smallpox spread in the neighbouring States, many people took shelter in Mewar. Then Maharana established Emergency Fund and also appointed Vaidya - Hakims from all parts of Mewar, to provide better Healthcare facilities.
In 1896, around 620 deaths were recorded at Udaipur from cholera. But in 1899 CE, after the famine, Cholera and Smallpox took the form of an epidemic. Then Mewar government adopted the process of "isolation".
Medical facilities were ensured by keeping infected patients away from the city and the sanitation system was also made smooth in Udaipur city.
In July 1894, Maharana Fateh Singh replaced the smaller Sajjan Hospital with the 60 bedded Lansdowne Hospital inside the Hathi Pol area of Udaipur. This hospital is presently known as Ayurvedic hospital at Haven Ji Ka Khurra, Hathi Pol and is famous for treating patients with Ayurveda.
Today my city is witnessing an increasing number of Covid-19 infected people. According to the recent report, the total number of infected Covid-19 patients have reached 100; 57 of it being added yesterday itself. So the city is in a state of lockdown for about 2 months now and several parts are under strict curfew. But this is how we have learnt to deal with pandemic historically. So everything shall passe and we need not unnecessarily worry about the current state of affairs.
Let's be grateful that internet, electricity and water services are still functional!