How Education Empowered Anandi Joshi

How Education Empowered India’s 1st Lady Doctor

Born in 1865 in an extremely orthodox family in Maharashtra, a 9 year old girl got married to a widower who was almost thrice her age. The girl went on to become the first Indian woman to qualify as a doctor. Even though she died at a very young age of 21, she opened the gates for many young women in India. We are talking about Anandi Gopal Joshi, India’s first lady to qualify as a doctor from the USA in 1886. In a time when a women’s position was not even considered in the society and their education was unthinkable, Anandi took a bold step to fight and go against the flow to become a doctor. Though she could not convert her degree into a successful profession due to her untimely death, Anandibai surely left a mark on India’s heart and contributed to a much better, and bolder, India.
Anandi Joshi- Rukmani Trust

Every superhero has his army of helpers and we have this army in real life too in the form of family, friends, mentors etc.

Gopalrao Joshi, Anandi’s liberal husband is one such person who stood by his wife’s side and acted as her biggest inspiration and push. Gopalrao, a postal clerk, was determined to educate his wife when she expressed her wish to study medicine at the age of 14, after losing their first child just 10 days after delivery because of unavailability of proper medical resources.

At a time when women’s education wasn’t taken seriously, Gopalrao appeared as a great exception. He had married Anandi on the condition that he should be permitted to educate the girl and that she should be willing to read and write.

Gopalrao started teaching Anandi how to read and write Marathi, English and Sanskrit. He also transferred himself to Calcutta to avoid direct interference of Anandi’s parents in her education.

Anandi gradually turned into a well-read intellectual girl. All this change took place in the face of stiff opposition from her parents, frequent bickering in the family and the stubborn attitude of her

In 1880, he sent a letter to a well-known American missionary, Royal Wilder, stating his wife’s keenness to study medicine in America and if he would be able to help them. Wilder agreed to help the couple on the condition that they convert to Christianity. This proposition was not accepted by the Joshis.

Read more about Anandi Joshi on The Better India, by visiting this link.