Anandi Gopal Joshi

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Dr. Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi

Dr. Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi (31 March 1865 – 26 February 1887) was the first Indian female doctor of western medicine. At 9 years-of-age, she married Gopalrao Joshi, then 29 years-of age. At the age of 14, Anandibai gave birth to a boy, but the child lived only for a total of ten days due to lack of medical care. This proved to be a turning point in Anandi's life and inspired her to become a physician. Her husband Gopalrao was a progressive thinker and, unusually for his time, supported education for women. Gopalrao tried to enroll her in missionary schools and, after having no success, the couple moved to Calcutta where she learned to read and speak Sanskrit and English. Her husband encouraged her to travel to America, with plans to address her poor health and study medicine. Despite her apprehensiveness, he convinced his wife to set an example for other women by pursuing higher education. The couple received much backlash from orthodox Indian society over Anandibai's attempt to become a doctor. However, after a speech Anandibai gave about the persecution she and her husband faced, and the need for female doctors in India, gained publicity, funding for her cause poured in from across India.

Anandibai became a doctor and returned to India in late 1886, receiving a grand welcome. The princely state of Kolhapur appointed her as the physician-in-charge of the female ward of the local Albert Edward Hospital. However, Anandibai died of tuberculosis early the next year on 26 February 1887, aged 21. Her and her husband Gopalrao remained married until death.

Her husband Gopalrao is a debated figure who, despite being a progressive for his time, drew criticism from an American feminist writer - Caroline Wells Healey Dall - who wrote a biography of his wife Anandibai in 1888.[1] The harsh treatment of her husband sparked controversy among his friends.[2]

External links


  1. The Life of Dr. Anandabai Joshee: A Kinswoman of the Pundita Ramabai. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1888.
  2. Pripas-Kapit, Sarah. Educating Women Physicians of the World: International Students of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1883-1911 (PhD). University of California, Los Angeles.