Kolkata, Jul 18 : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday paid tribute to Kadambini Ganguly, one of the first female graduates in India and also one of the first women in India to be trained in western medicine, on her birth anniversary. “Tribute to Kadambini Ganguly on her birth anniversary. She was one of the first female graduates in India and also one of the first women in India to be trained in western medicine,” Ms Banerjee posted on her social networking page.Credited as one of the earliest female medical practitioners of the pre-partition India, Kadambini, born on this day in 1861 as Kadambini Bose, broke the tradition when she became one of the first two ladies from the British India to graduate. Later, she also went to be the leading woman in South Asian to study Medicine.
Kadambini’s formal education began at Banga Mahila Vidyalaya, which was the
earliest liberal arts college for women in India. Later, it amalgamated with Bethune School. Kadambini continued her academic journey in Bethune School. The first candidate from Bethune School to appear in the Entrance Examination of the University of Calcutta, she achieved a historic feat by also becoming the first woman to pass the University of Calcutta entrance test in 1878. Her remarkable achievement was a major reason that prompted Bethune College to introduce FA (First Arts) and then graduation courses in 1883.
Kadambini was one of the first two graduates from Bethune College, and also in the entire British Raj. Afterward, Kadambini went to pursue Medical Science at the Calcutta Medical College.
In 1883 she married the Brahmo reformer and leader of women's emancipation Dwarkanath Ganguly. They were actively involved in female emancipation and social movements to improve work conditions of female coal miners in eastern India In 1884, Ganguly was awarded a government scholarship of Rs 20 a month for women medical students.
In 1886, she got a GBMC (Graduate of Bengal Medical College) degree, which
eventually permitted her to practice. Here too she made a record by becoming one of the two, Anandi Gopal Joshi being the other, Indian women physician eligible to practice western medicine. She became the first practising lady physicians in south Asia trained in European medicine. Three year later, in 1889, she also became the first woman to be on the dais of an Indian National Congress session. A gynaecologist, she was successful in private practice and, in 1888, was appointed to the Lady Dufferin Women’s Hospital on a salary of Rs 300 per month, a princely sum in those days.
Kadambini practised at the hospital till her death in 1923, at the age of 61.Ganguly’s persona and achievements drew the attention of a wide range of people from Florence Nightingale to Annie Besant. She was also a busy mother bringing up eight children, including two step children.