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Kadambini Ganguly, India's First Female Doctor, Honoured by Google Doodle

The Doodle is illustrated by Bengaluru-based artist Oddrija.

The Doodle is illustrated by Bengaluru-based artist Oddrija.

Kadambini Ganguly sought to uplift other women in India through both medical service and activism in India’s women’s rights movement

Google Doodle remembered Kadambini Ganguly, first woman to be trained as a physician in India, on Sunday. The Doodle is illustrated by Bengaluru-based artist Oddrija. Born on 18 July, 1861 in Bhagalpur British India, now Bangladesh, Ganguly was a vocal activist for women’s emancipation, a doctor, and a freedom fighter.

Her father, a co-founder of India’s first women’s rights organization, enrolled Ganguly in school during an era when education was uncommon for Indian women. She took the opportunity, and in 1883, Ganguly and her peer Chandramukhi BasuIn became the first women to graduate college in Indian history.

Soon after graduating, Ganguly married professor and activist Dwarkanath Ganguly, who encouraged her to pursue a degree in medicine. She persisted—despite numerous initial rejections—until she was admitted to the Calcutta Medical College.

She graduated in 1886, making history once again as the first woman to become an Indian-educated doctor. After working and studying in the United Kingdom, she earned three additional doctoral certifications with a specialization in gynecology and returned to India in the 1890s to open her own private practice.

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Ganguly sought to uplift other women in India through both medical service and activism in India’s women’s rights movement. Among many other campaigns, Ganguly joined six others to form the first all-women delegation of the 1889 Indian National Congress.

The 2020 “Prothoma Kadambini” biographical television series based on Ganguly’s life reinvigorated her legacy by telling her inspirational story to a new generation.

Artist’s view about the Google Doodle?

Sharing her thought about the Doodle in the Google page, artist Oddrija said: “In the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how medical infrastructure and doctors have been hailed as sheroes and heroes for becoming the saviors the world needs. Looking back in time, Kadambini Ganguly was a frontrunner in her contribution to medical infrastructure in India with her indomitable spirit and inquisitiveness that landed her a triple diploma in her studies in Western Medicine.

In the same spirit, working on this Doodle was a super proud moment for me—getting to represent a young, spirited woman from pre-independence Bangladesh because my own familial roots are also in Bangladesh. Alongside the same, I got to represent some aspect of my own home town which is Calcutta (Ganguly studied in Calcutta Medical College and worked for a long time in many hospitals across Calcutta)."

On being asked about her first thoughts when she was approached about working on this Doodle, she said: “Simply put, I get to do a Google Doodle about a personality who is from my own home town, spoke my mother tongue and created big change back in her day. It was a proud moment for a Bengali!"

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first published:July 18, 2021, 01:06 IST