Birthday Special: Who Is Anandi Joshi?

An inspiring story of an Indian woman who became the first Indian female doctor

Anandi just lived for 22 years, but she achieved so much in just a short span of life. Anandi Gopal Joshi was e first Indian female doctor, she was just 21 when she received her degree in medicine from the women’s medical college of Pennsylvania.

Family background and birthday

Anandi Joshi was Born in Kalyan, In present days Maharashtra’s Thane district on March 31, 1865. She was name Yamuna originally and was called by the same name until her marriage, After which her husband Gopalrao Joshi- gave her new name ‘Anandi’

Anandi was born in a very orthodox family who were l Landlords for many years during the British era, But due to excessive taxes levied on them as well as some losses, her family got into a financial crunch.

At a very young age, she got married forcibly by her family to a man who was thrice of her. She was just 9 when her family married her to Gopalrao Joshi a widower, who was 30 years old at that time. Gopalrao was working as a postal clerk in the same town Anandi was living in.

That time child marriage was normal as it is a criminal offense in the present day. When she was 14 years she delivered a baby boy, who died within 10 days because of a lack of medical care and facility. The loss was very traumatizing for her and she decided to do something for it.

Read more: The Journey of actress turned Politician Smriti Irani

Educational Journey

Anandi’s husband was of very progressive thought and was a staunch supporter of women’s education when people were not giving importance to the education of women. Anandi’s husband inspired her to educate herself despite all the odds. He started teaching her Marathi, English and Sanskrit. Later, he sent her to Calcutta so that she can pursue her further education and would be away  from her parents interference.

Anandi’s husband wrote a letter to an American missionary requesting if Anandi can pursue her in the United States, he even asked is he can get any suited job for himself so that he can accompany her. However, Anandi had to go alone because her husband got transferred to some other place.

Anandi started her medical training at the age of 19, in 1886 she fulfilled her husband’s dream and completed her graduation from Women’s medical college of Pennsylvania. She had made headlines in all the newspapers of India as well as foreign. At her graduation Queen Victoria wrote a congratulatory message to her.

Back journey to India

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

While she was in America her health started deteriorating and caught Tuberculosis, but she continued on her education. On February 26, 1887 just month before she could turn 22 she died of tuberculosis. Her dream of opening her own women’s medical college remained unfulfilled. Her death made headlines all over the country and the whole country mourned her death. Her ashes were sent to Theodocia Carpenter who placed it at the family cemetery in Poughkeepsie, New York.

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