Kadambini Ganguly was the first lady doctor of India (along with Anndibai Joshi) graduating from Calcutta Medical College.
The head of the Ganguly family threw the daily newspaper on the table and ordered his wife to immediately call the Mejo’s (Middle brother’s) wife. Kadambini presented herself with the veil covering her face in front of her brother-in-law.
She asked, ”Did you call me?”
Shouting on her he replied,” Read this” and gave her the Bangabashi newspaper.
He continued, ”It’s because of you that not only your husband’s but the sentiment of our entire family is hurt today. And Dwarka is still supporting you. Shame!! Shame!! I’m going to behead myself in shame after reading this newspaper”.
Kadambini didn’t understand what had happened and she took that paper to read. Her eyes got stuck into the 1st page after seeing it. She was trembling, her eyes got filled in tears, she felt dizzy in fear and anger. How shameful of an attack it was and how dirty the cartoon was. It portrayed a sheep face of Dwarkanath(her husband) and Kadambini was shown tying him around with a rope. A short note was written where they had compared her with a whore because she used to go to college at night shift too. It was written with a dirty indication, ”You will only get care of young lady doctor if you give her fees.” She started crying in anger. As a girl, she just wanted to live with her freedom and ambition. She wanted to read and that probably was her mistake. In fact, her brother-in-law and the entire Ganguly family thought so.
But she was too lucky to have a husband who was such a godly human being. Dwarkanath Ganguly always wanted to make all the women independent and self-dependent by teaching them, he believed in the education for the women and always helped his wife in all situations.
Kadambini wanted to take admission in a medical college after getting her honours degree in 1883. But the society, her relatives and the neighbours became the barriers in her way of life. They couldn’t fathom that a lady would read in a medical college when she was supposed to stay inside the four walls of a house. It was not acceptable to anyone at that time. It was education related to the body and a young woman shouldn’t be doing that. There was nothing but only negativity everywhere. Her father helped her get admission to medical college. He advised her not to listen to others’ words because these people only believed in religion . Because of that, they didn’t call any Male Doctor if a woman had any problem and let those women die without any treatment. It was the actual picture of the then society. While studying in medical college too, she faced many problems. Students used to make fun of her along with teachers because she was only one lady in the whole college. In that adverse situation, a teacher appeared in her life as her survivor. He helped her in each and every step and gave her all his support. Day by day she started to love him and got his best friend to fight with her in the battle she had involved herself to serve the nation. His inspiration helped her to get a degree in medicine from the European Medical Association. He was her husband, a social reformer and a leader of Brahmo Samaj.
After seeing the cartoon of such a God-like personality she lost her temper. She decided to teach a lesson to the editor of that newspaper Mahesh Pal. She appealed to the court to punish this editor who encouraging the society to stop education of women and attacking the great social reformer personally. She thought that this war is not only for her, but this was also for all the women who were behind the curtain in fear of the shameless society. At last, she won that case and the court punished the editor for 6 months behind bars and fined him 100 rupees. Even then, the illiterate society didn’t accept her that easily. They still used to hate her.
There was a famous family in Calcutta named Raychoudhury family. The head of this family believed that the position of a woman is inside the room. These ladies would get diverted by this modern education. One day his beloved daughter was pregnant, and she was having labour-pain. The situation becoming critical. There was none to help. They called Dr Sen but he had to listen to the problem from behind the curtain. He called the head of the family and said to call Dr. Ganguly immediately if you don’t want to let any male doctor check her. The head hesitated to call her because he hated that lady doctor who just came back to India after getting her degree from London. Dr. Sen shouted at him in anger and said to him,” It is urgent! Call her or otherwise, you may lose both your daughter and the baby. The society with orthodox people like you don’t let a single woman read. You don’t listen to their single word. They are highly educated people, so please shut your mouth and save your daughter.”
Suppressing all shame culture and pride, the car of Raychoudhury family stopped in front of Kadambini’s gate. Kadambini knew everything about that family. She listened to all the history of the patient in the car. After reaching Raychoudhury’s house she found that the lady was about to die. It was such a critical condition. She said,” I’ll try my best to save you daughter but I can’t give any guarantee about the baby.”
After a long time when Kadambini came out, she looked too tired. A cry was coming out from the room, it was not because of the death, it was the cry of the newborn baby. Kadambini said,” Your daughter is safe, She gave birth to a baby girl.” Raychoudhury Babu was crying with endless happiness and couldn’t reply immediately. He said,” I don’t know how to thank you. Bless that baby girl so that she also can be a good doctor like you in the future. How much should I pay you, Ma’am?” Suddenly Kadambini became emotional remembering about that newspaper. She replied,” I don’t want any fee. Do what you just said. Let that buds bloom.”
Celebrating her birthday anniversary.
Written by: Shubhankar Kundu
Source: Wiki,Bangla Amar Pran
Image source: Wiki