Google on Sunday paid homage to Dr Kadambini Ganguly, the first woman to be trained as a physician in India by dedicating the Google Doodle to the trailblazer. The Doodle celebrates the life and work of the icon on the occasion of her 160th birth anniversary. Illustrated by artist Oddrija from Bengaluru, the Doodle and the accompanying note by Google offers an insight into the achievements of Dr Ganguly, who was the first woman to be trained as a physician in India. In addition to this rare distinction, Dr Ganguly, was also the first woman to obtain admission to the Calcutta Medical College. She graduated from the esteemed institution in 1886.
Dr Ganguly was born in 1861 in Bhagalpur, British India, which is now situated in Bangladesh. Given that her father was one of the adherents of the Brahmo Samaj, India’s first women’s rights organization, she was actively encouraged to pursue her education. At a time when it was uncommon for women in India to attend schools and colleges, Dr Ganguly and her peer Chandramukhi Basu became the first women to graduate college in Indian history.
Her tryst with medicine began after her marriage to Dwarkanath Ganguly, an activist and professor, who encouraged her to follow up her graduation with a degree in medicine. Given the times she was living in, Dr Ganguly had to face numerous initial rejections, the note by Google said.
However, her persistence resulted in her admission to Calcutta Medical College. With her graduation in 1886, she made history as the first woman to become an Indian-educated doctor. Her peer Anandibai Joshi also graduated in 1886 but with a two-year degree in western medicine from the United States.
Dr Ganguly continued her study of medicine in the United Kingdom and returned to India with not one but three additional doctoral certifications. She had a specialization in gynaecology. She served as a gynaecologist at the Lady Dufferin Hospital in Kolkata, till her death on October 3, 1923.
In addition to medicine, she was also an active member of the women’s rights movement in the country. She was among the seven women who formed the first all-women delegation of the 1889 Indian National Congress.
Google’s tribute comes at a time when the world is continuing to rage a battle on the novel coronavirus with doctors and healthcare workers at the forefront.