Research and Scholarship

Completed Projects

Lethal Spots, Vital Secrets: Medicine and Martial Arts in South India

As part of my doctoral thesis I took a close look at varmakkalai in Kanyakumari district in the extreme South of India. This practice encompasses both martial and medical activities and centers around varmam spots – vulnerable parts of the body that can be used to cure and as well as to kill. Varmam manual therapies are usually understood as being a sub-specialization of Siddha medicine but so far, they have received only scattered attention, which is also due to widespread secrecy surrounding varmakkalai practices. The findings of the study, published in 2015 by Oxford University Press, New York, as “Lethal Spots, Vital Secrets: Medicine and Martial Arts in South India”, are thus an ethnographic engagement with secrecy, knowledge transmission and bodily learning and practice.

Listen to a podcast interview on “Lethal Spots, Vital Secrets” forĀ newbooks.asia here.

Current Projects

Entangled histories of South Indian Medicine: Siddha and Unani

For details see here.


Also, visit my profiles on Researchgate and Academia.


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