Inspiring Woman Of The Day

Kadambini Ganguly, India's first lady doctor was an extraordinary, progressive woman who championed women's rights.

Kadambini Ganguly, India’s first lady doctor was an extraordinary, progressive woman who championed women’s rights.

This extraordinary woman has many firsts to her credit. She was one of the two first women graduates of India, among the first to pursue medicine as a subject, and the first woman to qualify as a Graduate of Bengal Medical College (GBMC) in 1886.

What makes her achievement noteworthy is the fact that she was married when she began her medical education, and had to mother at least five children from her husband’s previous marriage!

Kadambini was also among the early Indian women to ‘cross the seas’ to Europe in 1892 to pursue higher studies. She returned with three advanced degrees in medicine and surgery to become the leading woman practitioner of Hippocratic medicine in the Asian subcontinent.

Healing was not her only forte. Kadambini was a prominent espouse for women reforms and emancipation. She was also the first woman to address an open session of the Indian National Congress in 1890.

Kadambini’s bio would be incomplete without the mention of the seminal role two men played in her life – father Braja Kishore Basu and spouse Dwarkanath Ganguly. Both were liberated Brahmo Samajists and ardent champions of female education.

Why we find her inspiring?

– Because she was incredibly confident, determined and multi-faceted

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– Because she was the first working mom India may have known who neatly juggling her roles as a doctor, a mother, and a social activist

– Because she carved a niche for herself as an individual, rather than being enmeshed in devout domesticity or intimidated by a vehemently critical society

– Because at a time when the purdah was more the norm than exception, this gutsy woman had broken several gender thresholds

Suggested Readings

First Indian Lady Doctor

A New Image Of Health

*Pic Credit:


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