Today’s Google doodle has been dedicated to commemorating the 153rd birth anniversary of Anandi Gopal Joshi, India’s first female doctor. Born on 31st March 1865, Joshi was born in a Brahmin family and was named Yamuna. She grew up to defy all odds and became the first Indian female doctor to obtain a degree in western medicine.
Here are some noteworthy details about the lady that make her a remarkable achiever:
• Since the practice of child marriage was quite prevalent at that time, she was married at the age of 9 to a widower who was 20 years older to her.
• At the age of 14 she gave birth to a boy but due to the lack of medical facilities, the child couldn’t live for more than 10 days.
• The demise of his son made her realize that India really needed proficient doctors and decided to become one. Her husband encouraged her to study medicine.
• Despite an ill health, she sailed to America all by herself accompanied by two female English acquaintances.
• However, Hindus didn’t approve of her progressive practices and criticized her a lot. At that time Christians supported her immensely and even suggested her to convert to Christianity.
• While addressing her community at the Serampore College Hall she stressed that India needs Hindu doctors and refused from converting to Christianity. Her speech was so well received that she got financial contributions from all across India.
• Her medical studies began at the age of 19 and she graduated with an MD in March 1886. The topic for her thesis was ‘Obstetrics among the Aryan Hindus’.
• She came back to India with a warm welcome in late 1886. Then she was appointed as the physician-in-charge of the female ward at Albert Edward Hospital in the princely state of Kolhapur.
• While staying in America, she contracted tuberculosis because of the cold weather and unfamiliar diet. As a result, she died on 26th February 1887 before even she turned 22.
Having achieved so much at such a young age especially at the time when the scenario wasn’t very female-friendly in India, Anandi Gopal Joshi totally deserves to be respected and remembered for her contributions. Women like her truly define the term empowerment and are the source of inspiration for many generations to come.