Google is commemorating the 153rd birth anniversary of India’s first female doctor, Anandi Gopal Joshi, through a doodle on its homepage. The young physician was born as Yamuna on this day in Maharashtra in 1865. As was the custom in 19th century India, she was married at the age of nine to a widower, Gopalrao Joshi, 20 years older to her, who later named her Anandi. It was Gopalrao who encouraged his wife to pursue her education and her interest in medicine.
Joshi gave birth to a boy at the age of 14. However, he soon died because of lack of proper medical care and this was what became a turning point for the young mother who decided to pursue western medicine. At the age of 16, Joshi left for America where she earned her medical degree from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (now known as Drexel University College of Medicine).
She returned to India in 1886 and took up the role of the physician in charge of the female ward at Kolhapur’s Albert Edward Hospital. Joshi was not only India’s first female doctor, but she was only 19 years old at that time.
Joshi had dreams of starting a medical college for women in India. However, her young life in medicine was cut short when she died of tuberculosis even before she turned 22. Although she couldn’t fulfill her dreams, she continued to inspire many young girls to pursue medicine.
As Google notes in its blog, there’s even a crater on Venus which is named after Joshi. All craters on Venus are named after famous women or female first names, and the one named ‘Joshee’ is a 34.3 km-diameter crater which lies at latitude 5.5° N and longitude 288.8° E.
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Today’s doodle imagines Joshi celebrating her degree, wearing the traditional attire. Joshi’s achievements, however short-lived, were significant at a time when girl education had no prominence in India. The doodle has been created by Bangalore-based artist Kashmira Sarode.