Nandini Patwardhan

Jun 12, 2020

Radical Spirits

India’s First Woman Doctor and Her American Champions

Story Artisan Press 2020

In 1883, a young woman named Anandi Joshi set out from her native India to the United States to study medicine. To do so, as Nandini Patwardhan describes in her book Radical Spirits: India’s First Woman Doctor and Her American Champions (Story Artisan Press, 2020) required overcoming numerous hurdles, which she did thanks to the support of family and friends on two continents. One of them, as Patwardhan explains, was her husband Gopal, who often moved with his young wife to various posts throughout India so as to obtain an education for her. The death of their son soon after childbirth fueled Anandi’s desire to study medicine, while the couple’s relationships with American missionaries led to an invitation to stay in America. Though Anandi faced numerous problems adapting to life in America and her husband’s oftentimes antagonistic nature added to her stress, through her hard labors and the aid of her friends Anandi succeeded in obtaining her medical degree, only to die tragically soon after her celebrated return to India in 1886.

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