In the late nineteenth century, colonial medico-legal scholars adopted these questions, taking the indigenous spleen as the object of their research. Theyconcentrated on Bengal and Assam, where many residents suffered enlargedspleens from repeated bouts of malarial fever. Because these regions were also ﬂashpoints of interracial violence and nationalist agitation, medicalevaluations of the Indian spleen were deeply relevant to criminal jurispru-dence. Studies of the Indian spleen, which generated ﬁerce reactions fromthe Indian nationalist press, had an unpredictable impact on homicide trials.At ﬁrst, these studies seemed to serve the prosecutorial interest. But ulti-mately, the colonial judiciary deployed this brand of medico-legal scholarshipin order to mitigate British violence in India. Through the investigation of theIndian spleen, the British boot was rendered something less than murderous.
The prose can be a bit turgid at times but there's some quite remarkable stuff here about the circumstances in which it was acceptable or otherwise for the British to assault Indians up to and including the point of death during the Raj. The quote reminds me of Orwell's remark citing a 19th century British judge to the effect that the characteristic crime of the Englishman was 'kicking yoiur wife to death'.