This is the story of Kadambini Ganguly was one of the first Indian female doctors who practised with a degree in modern medicine. She was the first Indian woman to practice medicine in India. Ganguly was the first woman to gain admission to Calcutta Medical College in 1884 and subsequently trained in Scotland and established a successful medical practice here in India.
Kadambini Ganguly was born to Kadambini Basu, daughter of Brahmo reformer Braja Kishore Basu. She was born on July 18, 1861, in the Bengal presidency of Bhagalpur, British India, and raised in Barisal. Despite coming from an upper-caste Bengali community that did not support women’s education; Kadambini initially received English education at the Brahmo Eden female school, Dacca.
In 1876, Ballygunge Calcutta’s Hindu Mahila Vidyalaya was renamed ‘Banga Mahila Vidyalaya. She passed the FA exam in 1880. She became one of the first graduates from Bethune College and also the first female graduate in the country. After graduation, Kadambini decided to study medicine and it didn’t take long for that news to spread.
The aristocratic society of Calcutta began to mock her in various ways so that she could not study medicine; there were many misdeeds for her. But Kadambini was not the one to leave, ignoring the bloody eyes of society, she was admitted to the medical college in 1884; and then not only the conservative society but also the teaching staff of the medical college started opposing her.
She was the first female physician in India to show the rare skill of obtaining multiple foreign degrees in medicine. Returning from Britain, this wise and fearless woman focused on public service; as she used to rush to the villagers for treatment and she also joined politics. She joined the Indian National Congress in 1899 as one of the first female delegates. In 1906 she organised the Women’s Conference in Calcutta and after the partition of Bengal; she continued the movement for the participation of Calcutta medical women as students.
She was the first woman to face significant obstacles and adversity in her contemporary work, and she had to overcome numerous challenges before becoming an independent professional. Her husband and father encouraged her to take the arduous path, and she was instrumental in altering the social position of women in Southern Asia.