Tracing the Lives of the First Female Doctors in India
Kavitha Rao has done a stellar job in documenting the journeys of these women who should ideally be found in pages of Indian history books but rarely make an appearance
There is a line in the introduction of the book Lady Doctors: The Untold Stories of India’s First Women in Medicine (Westland Non-fiction;Rs 499) by Kavitha Rao that says, “A crater in Venus is named after Anandibai (Joshi), but not a single road or school in India” and it is this line that defines the need for a book as well-researched and succinctly designed as this one.
Tracing the lives of the first female doctors in the Indian subcontinent, this is a moving piece of history that should have been on all bookshelves decades before. Their stories span a timeline from 1860s to 1930s and will definitely leave a lump in your throat with every turn of the page. The six women whose stories fill the pages of this book include Anandibai Joshi, the first Indian woman to cross the seven seas to travel to America to study medicine; Kadambini Ganguly who brought up eight children and fought colonialism and a ruthless society all the while studying to become a doctor; Rukhmabai Raut who escaped a child marriage and divorced her husband at a time when women weren’t allowed out of their houses; Haimabati Sen, a widow who didn’t let poverty get in the way of her dreams; Muthulakshmi Reddy, founder of India’s premier cancer institute who dedicated her life to abolish child marriage; and Mary Poonen Lukose who was the first surgeon general in India and likely the world.
Kavitha Rao has done a stellar job in documenting the journeys of these women who should ideally be found in pages of Indian history books but rarely make an appearance. Read it to your little ones or read it for yourself in a moment of extreme need for inspiration. Lady Doctors will not disappoint.
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