- Rukhmabai was involved in a landmark legal case involving her marriage as a child bride between 1884 and 1888
- Rukhmabai was born on November 22, 1864
- Rukhmabai was married at the age of 11 to a 19-year-old boy Dadaji Bhikaji
Rukhmabai Raut was one of the bold and progressive women of that time. The other notable first Indian females to practice medicine are Anandibai Joshi, Kadambini Ganguly and Chandramukhi Basu.
Rukhmabai was the first Indian physician who is best known for being one of the first Indian women doctors in colonial India as well as being involved in a landmark legal case involving her marriage as a child bride between 1884 and 1888. It was a real big deal back then in India at that time.
The case raised quite a significant public debate across Indian society, which mostly included law vs tradition, social reform vs conservatism and feminism in both British-ruled India and England. The uproar ultimately contributed to the Age of Consent Act in 1891.
Rukhmabai was born on November 22, 1864, in a Marathi family to Janardhan Pandurang and Jayantibai. Her mother suffered because of the custom of child marriage. Rukhmabai was known for her staunch stand against divorce and her love for higher studies in medicine.
Before becoming one of the pioneers of women emancipation, Rukhmabaihad a life full of struggle
Top 5 Unknown Facts about Rukhmabai Raut?
- Rukhmabai was married at the age of 11 to a 19-year-old boy Dadaji Bhikaji. She was just 8 years old when her father. Rukhmabai chose to complete her education. It is said that the couple never lived together
2. Rukhmabai’s Mother Jayantibai transferred all her property to her. Later, Jayantibai remarried and Rukhmabai step-father supported her at every step.
3. Rukhmabai refused to live with her husband and maternal-in-laws because they were after her property that she inherited from his deceased father. She even fought a long legal case against her husband and in the end, Dadaji Bhikaji won the case. The judgment was criticised by Bal Gangadhar Tilak and other prominent Hindu leaders. The court criticized her stance on marriage and her aversion to reuniting with her husband.
4. In 1884, Rukhmabai’s husband filed a petition in the Bombay High Court and pleaded to restore conjugal rights of the husband over his wife. The court in its judgement told Rukhmabai to comply or to go to prison. Rukhmabai refused the judgment and stated that she would suffer imprisonment rather than entering into a marriage she did not want.
5. The case again came to court in 1887. This time, Rukhmabai wrote numerous pieces of letters under a pseudo name,“A Hindu Lady”, stating the condition of women, who became victims of child marriage. Her articles got her the support and public sentiments in her favour.
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6. Rukhmabai did not take the lying down and pleaded Queen Victoria. But still, she had to shell out Rs 2000 to her husband as a settlement.
7. A public fund was raised to support her travel and study in England at the London School of Medicine for the 5 years degree course.
8. After her successful completion of medicine course, Rukhmabai returned to India as a qualified physician in 1894 and joined a hospital in Surat as the First practising female doctor in India. There she served as the chief medical officer for 35 long years and retired around 1930. She breathed her last in 1955, at the age of 91.
9. Rukhmabai worked to a great extent for the upliftment and betterment of women. She even published a pamphlet and called it “Purdah-the need for its abolition.”
10. Last year, even Google India paid a rich tribute to Dr Rukhmabai Raut by dedicating its doodle depicting a lady with a stethoscope around her neck, surrounded by women patients and nurses in a hospital.