Tuesday October 23, 2018
Home India Woman Medical...

Woman Medical Pioneers from India, Syria and Japan Who Traveled to Philadelphia in 1885

The picture shows a group of medical students, all women, dressed in their traditional attires belonging from Syria, Japan and India

0
//
196
Women Medical Pioneer
Photograph of Anandibai Joshee, Kei Okami, and Tabat M. Islambooly, students from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. Wikimedia
Republish
Reprint

New Delhi, August 15, 2017:

There is a remarkable archaic picture of some extraordinary medical students in Pennsylvania in 1885, who was featured on Public Radio International’s “The World” and has been making rounds on the web.

The picture shows a group of medical students, all women, dressed in their traditional attires belonging from India, Syria, and Japan.

What’s so outlandish about the image that has stunned the internet? Nothing is too remarkable in the picture until you see the period of time indicating the image from the year 1885. Each woman was the first in their respective countries to obtain a degree in western medicine.

Why did these women trek to the United States for studies?

America was the only place in the world at that time who offered Medical education to women. It’s also a tribute to the Quakers of Pennsylvania, who believed in women’s rights sufficiently to set up the WMCP way back in 1850 in Germantown.

Woman Medical Pioneer in India
Photograph of Anandi Gopal Joshi (March 31, 1865 – February 26, 1887). Wikimedia Commons

One of the strong-minded looking women among the group is Anandibai Joshi from India. She was married off at the age of 9 to a high caste Brahmin family. Her husband motivated her to pursue her studies back then, which is commendable to acknowledge with regard to the antiquated time of the history. But what impelled her to become a doctor was the tragic story of her own. At the 14, she gave birth to a child who died right after ten days post birth due to unavailability of healthcare facilities. From that point onwards, she decided to become a doctor and overcome hurdles that came her way.

[bctt tweet=”Anandibai Joshi was the first Hindu woman to set foot in America.” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

Hindus of ancient India considered traveling overseas as a sin that would corrupt them, regardless of which Anandibai succeeded in attaining her dreams. She was the first Hindu woman to set foot in America.

The WMCP received a letter of congratulations from Britain’s Queen Victoria, who was also Empress of India on the graduation of Anandibai.

The Pri.org mentioned an extract from her letter of application to WMCP:

“[The] determination which has brought me to your country against the combined opposition of my friends and caste ought to go a long way towards helping me to carry out the purpose for which I came, i.e. is to to render to my poor suffering country women the true medical aid they so sadly stand in need of and which they would rather die than accept at the hands of a male physician. The voice of humanity is with me and I must not fail. My soul is moved to help the many who cannot help themselves.”

The picture is also a reminder of just how exceptional America was in the 19th century. America was the inspirational beacon of freedom and equality for the entire world back then.

Another woman from Japan, Keiko Okami, returned to Tokyo and was recognized as a doctor and appointed as the head of gynecology at one of the main hospitals. However, she resigned a couple of years later when the Emperor forbade to receive her during a visit to the hospital because she was a woman.

Sabat Islambouli from Syria also headed back to Damascus and later moved to  Egypt in 1919 according to the alumnae list of that year. It is not known what happened to her ultimately as the college lost contact with her.

Joshi was respectfully appointed to a position as physician-in-charge of the female ward at the hospital in the princely state of Kolhapur. At the age of 21, she was afflicted with tuberculosis and died within the year.

ALSO READ: ‘That’s What They Said’- 15 Quotes by Influential Women around the world 

Anandibai is still revered not lesser than a hero among Indian feminists

Again breaking away with custom, Joshi’s husband sent her burial remains to one of her American friends, who laid them to rest in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Besides the international students, the college also produced the nation’s first Native American woman doctor, Susan LeFlesche. Many American graduates traveled overseas as medical missionaries, particularly to China, Korea, India and elsewhere.

It’s living alumnae number about a 1,000, and are found in almost every part of the American republic and in many foreign countries namely, Egypt, India, China, Japan, Persia, and Korea.

As the heterogeneity has waxed and waned throughout the years, it is interesting to perceive that it was still strong at a time when it was not a popular stance. Even in the crisis of the Second World War, WMC admitted students from Japanese internment camps. However, not everyone was happy about their presence.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

Indian Supreme Court Allows Only Green Firecrackers

The court said it adopeted a balanced approach providing a reasonable and adequate solution.

0
firecrackers
SC permits bursting of only green firecrackers. Pixabay

Refusing to impose a blanket ban on bursting of firecrackers, the Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the use of only green firecrackers with reduced emission and decibel levels during all religious festivals.

In its verdict on a petition filed on behalf of three infants, a bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan specified that on Diwali, firecrackers could be burst only between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.

The bench also provided that firecrackers would be allowed between 11.55 p.m. and 12.30 a.m. on Christmas and New Year while banning the bursting of firecrackers not conforming to the green norms. The ban would be in force throughout the year. These conditions would also be applicable to marriage festivities.

Firecrackers
People using Firecrackers to celebrate Diwali,. Flickr

The court also prohibited the manufacture, sale and use of joined firecrackers (series crackers or ‘laris’) and specified that e-commerce websites should not accept any online orders and effect online sales.

“Any such e-commerce companies found selling crackers online will be hauled up for contempt of court and the court may also pass orders of monetary penalties,” it said.

The court said that authorities in Delhi would identify common community areas for the bursting of firecrackers and ensure awareness among people about it. It also recommended that other states should also explore the feasibility of community firecracking.

The court directed police station chiefs to be personally responsible for ensuring the compliance of its order.

Firecrackers
Delhi’s air quality drastically dipped during Diwali. Wikimedia Commons

The bench asked the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to review the clinical composition of fireworks, particularly for reducing the aluminium content and submit its report within two weeks.

PESO is the nodal organisation to look after safety requirements in manufacture, storage, transport and use of explosives and petroleum.

The bench asked the PESO to ensure that only fireworks with permitted chemicals are sold and possessed during Diwali and other religious festivals as well as occasions such as marriages.

PESO has also been asked to test and check for the presence of banned chemicals like lithium, arsenic, antimony, lead and mercury and ensure suspension of the licenses of manufacturers of such fireworks items and appropriate disposal of such stock.

Firecrackers
The court also prohibited the manufacture, sale and use of joined firecrackers.

The court also asked the Centre and state governments as well as educational institutions to carry out extensive public awareness campaigns about the harmful effects of firecrackers.

The bench asked the Central and State Pollution Control Boards and Pollution Control Committees to carry out short-term monitoring for 14 days before and after Diwali for parameters like aluminium, barium, iron apart from the regulatory parameters.

“This will help in generation of data on pollution caused by the bursting of firecrackers and would be helpful for regulation and control quantity of aluminium, barium and iron used in the manufacture of firecrackers,” it said.

Firecrackers
The ban would be in force throughout the year. These conditions would also be applicable to marriage festivities. Pixabay

The court said it adopeted a balanced approach providing a reasonable and adequate solution.

“When the picture becomes clearer after the requisite studies/research, more stringent measures can be adopted in future if the situation so warrants,” said the bench.

While the Central Pollution Control Board described the order as a “balanced one”, lawyers pressing for a complete ban on firecrackers said the court order would be difficult to implement for practical reasons.

Also Read: Maa Durga And Cosmic Divinity

Filed on behalf of two six-month old and one fourteen-month old infant, the petition pleaded for banning the use of firecrackers, sparklers and minor explosives, in any form, during festivals or otherwise. (IANS)