Book tells untold stories of India’s first ‘Lady Doctors’

It claims to unearth the inspirational stories of six women from the 1860s to the 1930s, who defied the idea that they were unfit for medicine by virtue of their gender

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Tracing the unconventional paths followed by India’s first ‘women doctors’, a new book shows how the pioneers in the field challenged the norms, balanced work and family lives, and left a lasting impact on medical learning for women.

The book, “Lady Doctors: The Untold Stories of India’s first Women in Medicine”, is written by journalist-author Kavitha Rao. It claims to unearth the inspirational stories of six women from the 1860s to the 1930s, who defied the idea that they were unfit for medicine by virtue of their gender.

“.. I have chosen to focus on those lady doctors about whom some information survives, and who seemed to me to have the most compelling and fascinating stories. Often — given they did not maintain diaries — I had to look for insight in the journals of their friends and contemporaries,” wrote the author in the book.

“.. With all these caveats, it is my hope that this book brings these shadow women into limelight and allows readers a glimpse into the unconventional lives of India’s first women doctors — and likely India’s first women to work outside the home,” she added.

According to publishing house Westland, the compelling stories of these radical women — including Anandibai Joshi, Kadambini Ganguly, Rukhmabai Raut, Haimabati Sen — have been “erased from our textbooks and memories, because histories have mostly been written by men, about men”.

“In an immensely readable narrative, and with impeccable research, Lady Doctors rectifies this omission,” it said in a statement.

“Lady Doctors”, prized at Rs 499, is presently available for sale on online and offline stores.

Source – The Indian Express

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