Tributes pour in for Kadambini Ganguly, one of India s first woman doctors on her 160th birth anniversary


Tributes poured in forKadambini Ganguly, one of Indias first two women doctors onSunday, her 160th birth anniversary.

Along with Anandi Joshi, Ganguly became the firstwoman in colonial India to study medicine and earn a degree in1886. While Joshi studied at Womans Medical College ofPennsylvania in the US, Ganguly pursued western medicine atCalcutta Medical College (CMC).

Born Kadambini Bose in Bhagalpur, she was the daughterof well-known Brahmo Samaj reformer Braja Kishore Basu and wasdeeply influenced by the ongoing Bengal renaissance. Shefought a long battle to be admitted to the Calcutta MedicalCollege before qualifying as a practicing doctor, afterbecoming along with Chandramukhi Basu, one of CalcuttaUniversitys first women graduates.

Among others, Google Doodle honoured the countrysfirst woman doctor with a special graphic on her. The doodle,a portrait of Ganguly with the image of the main building ofCalcutta Medical College, now officially called the KolkataMedical College and Hospital in the background, has beendesigned by Bengaluru-based artist Oddrija, and it was widelyshared across the country.


Social media saw an outpouring of tributes that hailedGanguly as a champion of womens rights in India.

After her marriage with Brahmo reformer DwarkanathGanguly, the couple battled CMCs prohibition on womenstudying there, and Kadambini joined the medical college onJune 23, 1883 despite strong criticism from the colonialsociety.

She was awarded the Graduate of Medical College ofBengal (GMCB) degree in 1886, which even attracted theattention of Florence Nightingale who enquired about Gangulyfrom a friend in a letter in 1888. Ganguly later studied inBritain.

A champion of womens rights, Ganguly was among thesix members of the first all-women delegation to the 1889Indian National Congress.

Among other movements, Kadimbini Devi as she was popularlycalled, worked to better the working conditions of female coalminers in the Eastern India.

When Lord Curzon announced the partition of Bengal in1906, Kadambini Devi organized the Womens Conference inCalcutta to protest the plan. She also supported theSatyagraha movement and worked to support families ofimprisoned political workers.

Well known as a medical practitioner, she is reputedto have never turned down a call to treat or visit an ailingperson while practicing medicine in Kolkata till her death in1923.

Sharing her photograph, Congress tweeted: “Today wehonour Kadambini Ganguly for inspiring generations of Indiansto aspire for greatness. She was not only one of the firstfemale graduates from India but also among the first women topractice western medicine in all of South Asia.” Congress leader Shashi Tharoor recalled her politicalcontributions and tweeted “we honour her.” “Remembering #KadambiniGanguly ji on her birthanniversary. In a male-dominated society, Kadambini Gangulyfought all restrictions & prejudices to study medicine. Sheactively campaigned for the emancipation of women and theiradmission into academic institutions,” National Commission forWomen chairperson Rekha Sharma said in a Twitter post.

Politicians cutting across party lines paid tributesto Ganguly on the occasion.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted:”Tributes to #KadambiniGanguly, one of the first two femalephysicians from India on her birth anniversary. She studiedmedicine in 1883, trained in Scotland & established medicalpractice in India. Her contribution to women emancipationshall always be remembered.” “Pay my humble tribute to #KadambiniGanguly … Herstruggle and fight in true sense, inspires Indian and Bengaliwomen,” West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said in a Twitterpost.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)