Birthday: March 31, 1865
Died At Age: 21
Sun Sign: Aries
Also Known As: Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi, Dr. Anandi Gopal Joshi, Yamuna
Born Country: India
Born in: Kalyan, Maharashtra, India
Famous as: First Indian Female Doctor
Spouse/Ex-: Gopalrao Joshi
father: Ganpatrao Amriteshwar Joshi
Died on: February 26, 1887
place of death: Kalyan, Bombay, India
Cause of Death: Tuberculosis
education: Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania
Anandi Gopal Joshi was the first Indian female doctor. She is remembered as the first woman from India to graduate in western medicine in USA. Originally named Yamuna, she grew up in Kalyan, present day’s Thane district in Maharashtra. As her family followed the tradition of child marriage, she was married at the age of nine to a widower Gopalrao Joshi who was about twenty years older than she was. Upon her marriage, she was renamed 'Anandi'. At the age of 14, Joshi became a mother of a boy who died just ten days after birth. Her child’s death due to the lack of medical care as well as her husband’s obsession with her education inspired her to become a physician. Joshi started her medical training in USA at the age of 19. She soon contracted tuberculosis but nevertheless graduated after completing a two-year degree program in 1886. In February 1887, she died from the disease before turning 22.
Childhood & Early life
Anandi Gopal Joshi, also known as Anandibai Joshi, was born as Yamuna on 31 March 1865, in Kalyan, India. Her family members were erstwhile landlords who later experienced financial losses.
At the age of nine, she was married off to Gopalrao Joshi, a widower who was almost thrice her age. After her marriage, she was renamed Anandi. At the age of 14, Joshi became a mother for the first time. However, her baby boy died just ten days after birth due to the lack of medical care. This incident inspired her to pursue education so that she could become a doctor in the future and help others. She then moved to Calcutta with her husband and studied English and Sanskrit there.
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Academic Life & Time Spent in USA
Anandi Gopal Joshi’s husband supported her desire to study medicine. He sent a letter to American missionary Royal Wilder in 1880, stating his wife’s interest in studying medicine in USA. Theodicia Carpenter, a resident of New Jersey, read Wilder’s correspondence in ‘Princeton's Missionary Review’ and lent her support to Joshi. Gopalrao was transferred to Serampore in 1883 and he decided to send Anandi to US by herself. Anandi then addressed a big crowd at the Serampore College Hall, explaining her keen desire to obtain a medical degree in USA. Her speech garnered moral support and financial contributions from all over India. She was ill at this time but was still determined to pursue her studies.
Anandi eventually travelled to New York from Calcutta by ship, accompanied by two female British missionaries. In June 1883, she reached New York where she was received by Carpenter. She soon was accepted at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania.
Anandi started her training at the age of 19. During her stay in USA, her health worsened and she contracted tuberculosis. However, she managed to earn her MD in March 1886. After her return to India, she started working at the Albert Edward Hospital as a physician-in-charge of the female ward.
Anandi Gopal Joshi’s husband was extremely obsessed with her education. It was very uncommon for husbands of that time to want their wives to study instead of doing household chores. A few months after sending her to USA for her studies, he also moved to be with her. By the time he reached Philadelphia, his wife was already a doctor. The couple boarded the ship together and returned to India.
Death & Legacy
On 26 February 1887, Anandi died of tuberculosis. Her death occurred shortly before her 22nd birthday. She had been ill for several months prior to her untimely demise. After her death, her ashes were sent to Carpenter who placed them in her family cemetery in New York.
Several books and novels have been published to honor her, including the Marathi novel ‘Anandi Gopal.’ Kamlakar Sarang directed the Hindi television series ‘Anandi Gopal’ that premiered on the channel Doordarshan. A crater on Venus has been named after her. The 34.3 km-diameter crater titled ‘Joshee’ rests at latitude 5.5° N and longitude 288.8° E.
The Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences (IRDS) has been awarding the Anandibai Joshi Award for Medicine to honor her early contributions to the field of medical science in India.