The History Of Women Veterinarians In India

Do you know who the first women veterinarians in India were? Let us dig into history and find out.

This year, our nation celebrates the 73rd Republic day. Mother India continues to bask in the glory of the 75th Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav.

It is heartening to see the women in India emerge as champions in every sphere of life, including leadership, political participation, and every other thing that society had never imagined.

Amidst all these, India loses its first lady veterinarian, Dr Sakkubhai Ramachandran, at Eluru, Vijayawada, who carved a unique path for women across the country.

She chose to be in such an unconventional career of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry today.

Dr Sakkubhai Ramachandran was the first woman veterinarian of India

In India, Madras Veterinary College at Vepery in Chennai opened its first portal for admission to girls for the Bachelor of Veterinary Science course in 1948.

Dr Sakkubhai Ramachandran was the first woman veterinarian of India, graduated in 1952 and later assumed multiple significant posts and retired as a Scientist from IVRI, Bangalore,1971.

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While the first woman veterinarians – Dr P. Sakku Bai and Dr N. Kalyani, passed out in 1952 from the Madras Veterinary College, Dr Pushpa Ranaparkhe graduated in veterinary sciences in 1962.

While talking about her student years in 2005, she mentioned that only a few girls would opt for veterinary sciences. However, presently, girls outnumber the boys on the merit list.

Today, there are limitless opportunities for female veterinarians

So far, there was no national association of lady veterinarians, but she initiated the move. Today, the opportunities for women veterinarians are limitless. Unfortunately, earlier, women veterinarians in India didn’t have several windows of opportunities.

Due to their commitments to their families, a majority of the women veterinarians worked in the field serving the livestock in rural areas. Hence, no effort was made to make the women veterinarians.

Women could play a vital role, interact with each other and share their experiences. But, domestic chores and dairy work was mainly done by women only in rural India.

Thus Dr Ranaparkhe established the All-India Association of Lady Veterinarians (AILV) and set up local chapters in all the states.

These women are the first of everything

Dr Pragati Panda, the former Professor in the Department of Animal Genetics and Breeding, Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar, was the first lady veterinarian of Odisha.

Dr Amrita Patel, the former Chairman of National Dairy Development Board and Bombay Veterinary College alumna is the first woman veterinarian in the progressive state of Gujarat.

The first-ever woman who graduated from Bangalore Veterinary College was Dr Prema, who worked for the Animal Husbandry department and retired as Assistant Director during the 1980s.

We have thousands of female veterniarians

Over these years, many stalwart lady veterinarians have carved a professional niche in India and abroad. It has created awareness and paved a way for young girls.

There has been a tremendous rise in the girls preferring this noble profession. It is estimated that thousands of lady veterinarians registered with different State Veterinary Councils and Veterinary Council of India.

Dr P. P. Nilufer became the first lady veterinarian from the tropical union territory of Lakshadweep and took charge as the first woman veterinary surgeon in Kavaratti in Lakshadweep in 2017.

The first Annual Convention Shakti – Lady Vet Wing of Indian Veterinary Association was organized successfully at Bhopal on 13-14th November 2021. The convention saw the congregation of women veterinarians from every nook and cranny of the country.

This annual convention served as a suitable platform to discuss and resolve various issues and challenges faced by lady veterinarians across India.

Dr Sosamma Iype, former Professor of Animal Genetics and Breeding at Kerala Agriculture University, known as “Vechur’s Amma,” was conferred with the Padma Shree award.

She got the award for the conservation of the indigenous breeds of Vechur cow, Kasargod and Cheruvally cattle, and Attappady goats from the brink of extinction.

Let those firsts never be the last

Now, the official marriage age of women has increased to 21, and there is the induction of women in the National Defence Academy.

Moreover, there was the finalization of recruitment of female veterinarians in the Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC). It happened with the Indian Army as officers and a grant of maternity leave once in the entire duration of studies. Women students get up to 240 days by the UGC.

These causes inspire every aspiring and persistent woman that plans higher studies and balances her life meticulously despite all odds, uncertainties and challenges.

As we remember and pay our deepest gratitude to the first woman veterinarian in India – Dr P. Sakku Bai, that left us for heavenly abode, we must continue to support each other and succeed professionally and personally.

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About the Author

Dr. Smruti Smita Mohapatra Samal

Veterinarian. Researcher. Science Writer.

3 Posts | 6,220 Views

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