Sake Dean Mahomed was an entrepreneur and surgeon who helped break down cultural barriers between India and England.
Mahomed is credited with introducing Indian cuisine and Indian therapeutic massages known as shampoo baths to Europe in the early 19th century. But it’s for his writings that Google honored him with a Doodle on Tuesday. It was on this date in 1794 that Mahomed became the first Indian author to write and publish a book in English.
Born in Patna, India, in 1759, Mahomed was taken under the wing of a British Army officer at the age of 10 after his father died. He served as a trainee surgeon in the army of the British East India Company and remained with the unit until 1782, when he resigned from the army and accompanied his benefactor to Britain.
In 1794, Mahomed published The Travels of Dean Mahomed, an autobiographical narrative about his adventures in India. The book recounts his time in the army and describes many important Indian cities and military campaigns.
After moving to London in 1810, Mahomed opened the Hindostanee Coffee House, the first Indian restaurant in Britain. The luxurious restaurant gave Georgian Brits their first taste of curry and the hookah, but financial pressures forced the establishment to close two years later.
In 1814, Mahomed moved to the beachside town of Brighton and opened the first commercial “shampooing” bath in England, providing a combination of a steam bath and an Indian therapeutic massage. His business flourished, promising to cure diseases and provide relief from various physical pains.
He was so successful that soon he became known as “Dr. Brighton,” with hospitals referring patients to his care. He was also appointed shampooing surgeon to British kings George IV and William IV.
Mahomed died in Brighton in 1851, between the ages of about 91 and 92.
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