India’s first lady physician was born 31st March 1865 in Kalyan to an orthodox Brahmin family who married Anandi to widower Gopalrao Joshi at the tender age of 9. Gopalrao Joshi was the guiding force behind Anandi’s successful transition to a Doctor at a time female education was unheard of.Gopalrao was a postal clerk was determined to educate his wife and Anandi too showed great interest in pursuing education.
In the year 1880, Gopalrao sent a letter to an American Missionary by the name Royal Wilder expressing Anandi’s keenness to study medicine in the USA. Royal Wilder agreed to help but on a condition that they should convert to Christianity which the couple could not agree. However, Royal wilder helped them by writing about them in the local newspaper which caught the attention of Theodicia Carpenter who expressed the desire to help Anandi owing to her earnestness and keenness to study medicine. Anandi went to study medicine at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and got her M.D degree in 1886 along with Kei Okami from Japan and Tabat Islambooly from Syria. This trio was the first women from the respective countries to obtain a degree in Western Medicine. Anandi returned to India with a desire to open a Medical college for Women in India. She was also appointed as the in charge of the female ward in the Albert Edward Hospital in Kolhapur. Sadly Dr. Anandi Gopal succumbed to tuberculosis at the age of 22 on the 2th of February 1887. She died at the age of 21, however in the brief span she had achieved so much that a crater in Venus has been named after her “Joshee”.
By: Madhuchanda Saxena