May 06, 2020

"No Man or Woman should depend upon another for maintenance and necessaries. Family discord and social degradation will never end till each depends upon herself"—Anandi Gopal Joshi


Anandi Bai Gopal Joshi with Kai Okami and Sabat Islambooly

First Marathi woman from the Bombay presidency (learn more about the history of Bombay Presidency of India) graduated medical science in 1887 from the United States. A 20 years old who had great support from her passionate husband was sent to the US for medical study, she was the only woman and the first lady from India. Her story, she is one of the women has been inspiring millions today. She was a married woman at the age of 9, but the marriage was done on a conversational bond between her friends, family, and her husband that she has to study after marriage and this proposal was from her husband, Gopalrao Joshi got married on this promise only. The man who was ardent, free spirit, zealous, and brave to go against the custom of India and people especially in the matter of Indian woman’s education.

Dr Joshi

Anandi was born in Kalyan and her real name was Yamuna (The name derived from Sacred Yamuna River). She was considerably from a rich family in her grandparent’s era. She got married to the person who was almost 20 years elder due to her mother’s forceful decision and choice. It did not happen only with her, as it was one of the traditions in India during the 18's century.
The husband with whom she got married was a glowing flame and sometimes cruel asking forcefully for taking her education seriously. She said, 
“Sometimes he could throw books or a chair on me if I missed my study for the day.”
Many times she had given a reason to say that she did not get time for study due to household chores then, her husband used to wake up early in the morning on his own and finish all the work of the house. He made her travel from Kalyan to Alibagh then to Kolhapur and finally to Calcutta (now it is Kolkata) for her study at an early age. Then only she learned Sanskrit and Marathi (These two languages were prime in the country, Maharashtra.)

"No Man or Woman should depend upon another for maintenance and necessaries. Family discord and social degradation will never end till each depends upon herself"Anandi Gopal Joshi.

Letter of Anandi Bai Joshi to Carpenter of Roselle 18th June 1883

Her story was so inspiring, the couple got a spark and craze about studying medical science when their first newborn baby boy died when she was 14. She claimed herself held responsible for the death of her child. She said that if I was well educated then I could have saved my child. Anandi Bai decided that she wants to become a physician as she thought that there are many other women like her whose children are dying every day in India. She wanted to serve the nation as a doctor.
Gopalrao tried everything, knocked the doors of the city's popular physicians, tried accepting Christian religion to that end but the couple was only facing criticism and opposition.

Mr Gopalrao Joshi

Mrs Carpenters of Roselle from New York heard Anandibai’s story and sent her a letter and appreciated her effort and interests and she also wrote that she is happy to accept her as a student.
The dream of the couple after receiving the letter from Mrs Carpenters was not so far, but it was two years' degree and she alone had to travel the miles to get there and complete education from the US. It was not possible for an Indian lady to go outside of the home for shopping and going alone abroad was impossible. Mr Gopalrao went against the society and sent her wife to another country alone to fulfill the dream of his wife. At first, she had denied going alone but there was no option, her husband had no job and he had already said that if you are not going this time then you will see me die,
She was sent through a sea channel with boiled potatoes in her bag for her lunch and dinner and her necessary material for living and study.

There were many exchanges of letters between Roselle and Anandi bai, they had discussed the status of women in India (Paperback is available on Amazon), early marriage and its health effect on women, customs of India needing change, and women’s education.
She had not practiced as a physician due to her health and after she got her medical degree and became a doctor, she died soon due to tuberculosis. Her biography is available on Amazon by Megan Callea the regional language book is also available in Marathi (her complete biography by author Anjali Kirtane)


Anandi Bai Gopalrao Joshi's burial



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