It’s the 21st century and women still struggle to shatter the glass ceiling. Multiply that struggle by 100 and time travel back to the 1800s, a time when few women had professions. Being a woman and a doctor back then was as good as a myth. But Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi broke that myth and emerged as a legend with two firsts to her name: being the first female Indian physician and the first Indian woman to complete her studies in western medicine from the United States of America.
While Joshi is celebrated as a woman who defied odds and followed her dreams, there isn’t much we know about her as a person. The bilingual play, Dr Anandibai – Like, Comment, Share, is here to change that. Directed by Manoj Shah and written the Geeta Manek, the play, which will stream on Saturday, October 24 at 5pm, stars Marathi theatre actor Manasi Joshi and attempts to examine how Anandibai Joshi’s life has impacted the 21st-century woman.
Born Yamuna in 1865, she married Gopalrao Joshi at the age of nine and was renamed Anandi. She would’ve lived a mundane existence were it not for the death of her son due to lack of medical care. This incident spurred her to learn medicine and became the driving force behind her desire to become a physician. Luckily for her, Gopalrao was progressive and a staunch proponent of women’s education. He encouraged her to join a missionary school and learn English to further her ambition. In fact, there are many accounts of how he would throw books at her and order her out of the kitchen to ensure that she focused on her education. Anandibai went on to graduate from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1886.
While Anandibai would’ve no doubt gone on to become a great physician, fate had other plans and she succumbed to tuberculosis in 1887. Catch the play to know more about Joshi.