Sake Dean Mahomed: A Doctor & Businessman Who Made India World-Famous?

Sake Dean Mahomed

Today, many people want to visit India because of the ‘Incredible India’ commercials that they see on TV which advertise India as an exotic land that is full of must-see charm and history.  In fact, India has long been a mystic and spell-binding land that the world has wanted to visit. But who made it that way? Well, an esteemed doctor, businessman, and traveler did in the 18th and 19th centuries.  He is Sake Dean Mahomed. Read further if you want to learn more about him and his amazing accomplishments!

Who exactly was Sake Dean Mahomed?

You may be wondering to yourself, who exactly was Sake Dean Mahomed?”  Here is your answer.  He was from an elite family who claimed to descend from the Nawabs of Bengal.  Mahomed was born in what is now Patna India in 1759. He was a Muslim. His family had exposure to European ways of life.  This was because his dad was a barber with the East India Company!  

More about Sake Dean Mahomed

He was interested in hygiene and studied areas related to it. Some examples include methods used to produce different types of alkalis, soaps, and shampoos. He also studied alchemy. That and Latin was something that everyone from the upper classes studied in those days. His dad died when he was 10. It was then that Captain Godfrey Evan Baker enrolled in the East India Company’s army and helped defeat the mighty Marathas. 

Also Read: Mrinalini Sarabhai

Sake Dean Mahomed traveled extensively throughout India and Europe. This prompted him to publish a chronicle of his travels that was titled The Travels of Dean Mahomet.  Many key cities are described in detail as are the military battles that took place there.  He documented India’s culture, food, military, animals, and wildlife in his chronicle. The work also discusses his various travels to European nations including England and Ireland.  He compared Ireland to India stating that its environment looked strikingly similar to India’s.

Sake Dean Mahomed’s accomplishments

He founded the Hindoostan Coffee House in 1810 after he moved to London. This restaurant was the first East Indian restaurant to be established in England.  People could smoke hookas with real chilim tobacco there. They could also enjoy delicious Indian cuisine.

Mahomed developed his love affair with personal hygiene while serving as an apprentice under Nabob Basil Cochrane.  Cochrane installed a steam bath that anyone could use in his house. Mahomed began to learn about the importance of bathing on personal hygiene.  This prompted him to learn more about shampooing. This was a key development since many people in England suffered from head lice at the time.

Sake Dean Mahomed opened England’s first commercial shampooing bath in Brighton in 1814 with the help of his wife.  Mahomed publicized his bath and its many benefits in local English newspapers. The articles he published discussed the importance of bathing and hair washing on personal hygiene and good health.  English people began to take note because business at his bath began to take off.

Shampooing is now a daily ritual

Shampooing and bathing may now be as daily of a ritual as teeth brushing is.  However, that was not always the case. Sake Dean Mahomed is responsible for making regular bathing and shampooing popular.

By Prita Kulkarni

Prita is a Natural Born Writer & consultant with 3 years of training in consulting, writing, and analytical work. Her strong points are in market research and analysis, social media and digital marketing, networking, and business development. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from UC Riverside and an MBA with an emphasis in business plan development from Baylor University.

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