Anandi Gopal Joshi: The Inspiring Story Of India's First Female Doctor

Rosemary Collier
April 1, 2018

Her death was mourned throughout india despite the early opposition to her decision to study in the West, and her ashes were placed in the family cemetery in NY. On the further insistence of Gopalrao, she made a decision to pursue a medical degree. She was only 19 at the time.

ANANDI Joshi may not be a name many people in Britain know - but she remains hugely significant in India to this day.

Joshi had dreams of starting a medical college for women in India. As was custom during the mid-nineteenth century, Yamuna (Anandi Gopal Joshi) was pressured to marry at a very young age - nine. Theodesia would also send her medicines from America while Anandi was suffering from ill health.

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The 17-year old Anandi forcefully defended her plans to travel to the U.S. for a medical degree; how she and her husband had been subject to discrimination because of her moves, why the country needed Hindu female doctors and her future dream of opening a medical college for women in India itself. Her husband worked as a postal clerk in Kalyan. In America, her declining health worsened because of the cold weather and unfamiliar diet. In 1886, at the age of 21, she graduated from Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMC) with Kei Okami of Japan and Tabat Islambooly of Syria, who became the first woman to obtain a degree in Western medicine.

Anandibai came back to India in 1886 and the princely state of Kolhapur, Maharashtra appointed her as the physician in charge of the female ward at Albert Edward Hospital.

Unfortunately, young Joshi did not keep too well, and she died just short of 22 years due to tuberculosis on February 26, 1887. The whole country mourned her death, and her ashes were sent to Theodocia Carpenter who placed it in the family cemetery in Poughkeepsie, New York.

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Her husband named her Anandi and encouraged her to continue her education. Her speech was well received and financial contributions started pouring in from all over India.

- Nevertheless, she completed her education. And, a Lucknow institute has named an honorary award after her. Even the Government of Maharashtra established a fellowship in Anandi Gopal Joshi's name.

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