The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Saturday demanded that India’s biggest public health institution, KEM Hospital here, should be renamed after the country’s first US-trained medico Anandi Gopal Joshi. The call came on the 153rd birth anniversary of Joshi, who was born in Kalyan town of adjoining Thane district in 1865. She went on to create history by becoming the first Indian woman medico trained at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (now called Drexel University College of Medicine), the world’s only second medical school exclusively for women launched in 1850.
Joshi, suffering from the stigmatic and deadly tuberculosis, completed her MD in medicine and returned to India in 1886, but succumbed to her illness a year later, aged 21. The Raj Thackeray-led party said it made the demand in a letter last week and on Saturday in a tweet in which it tagged Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta. Terming her achievement “as tall as the Himalayas,” the MNS offered tributes to her and urged the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation to rename its famed KEM Hospital in Parel as a befitting tribute to Joshi’s memory.
The 92-year old King Edward Memorial Hospital, run and largely funded by the BMC, has around 1,800 beds which offer virtually free treatment to lakhs of inhouse and out patients annually. Google created a special Doodle to mark the birth anniversary of Joshi who overcame great travails to achieve her ambition of becoming a medico, but could not fulfil her dream of setting up a medical college for women in India owing to her untimely demise.
However, she blazed an immortal trail that has inspired millions of other women in the country who took to the medical profession in a big way in the past over 150 years.