Who is Kadambini Ganguly, India’s first Female Doctor On Her Birth Anniversary

Kadambini Ganguly western medicine
Kadambini Ganguly: On her 160th birth anniversary, Google dedicated a doodle to honour Kadambini Ganguly who was the first woman to be admitted to Calcutta Medical College in 1884. Ganguly further went on to study medicine in Scotland before returning to India and establishing a successful medical practice.

Doctor Kadambini Ganguly was born in Bhagalpur, British India, on July 18, 1861. Ganguly was a strong advocate for women’s liberation at a time when solely men dominated almost all cultural and social arenas of the country. Along with other female doctors such as Anandibai Joshi, she established a successful medical practice for women in India.

She was the first woman admitted to the Calcutta Medical College in 1884, a remarkable achievement by late-nineteenth-century standards given that the institution was exclusively entirely male at the time.

Ganguly, along with Chandramukhi Basu, were the first women to graduate from Bethune College, and in the process became the first female graduates in the country as well as in the entirety of the British Empire.

Ganguly’s father Braja Kishore Basu started the movement for women’s emancipation with Abhay Charan Mallick in Bhagalpur. They both established the women’s organisation Bhagalpur Mahila Samiti in 1863, a first of its kind in India.  

A Vocal Advocate for Social Change 

Ganguly was one of six female delegates to the Indian National Congress’s fifth session in 1889. Following the Partition of Bengal, she organised the 1906 Women’s Conference in Calcutta. Ganguly was also successful in enabling women to get admitted to Calcutta Medical College.

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Born in a small village called Chandsi in West Bengal, Kadambini Ganguly acquired her formal school education at Dacca (Dhaka) followed by Calcutta. In 1893, she sailed to England and received a triple certificate from the Scottish College. Ganguly holds the Licentiate of the College of Physicians, Edinburgh (LRCP), Licentiate of the College of Surgeons, Glasgow (LRCS), and Licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, Dublin (LFPS) to her name. She was promoted to a senior specialist position upon her return. Soon after, she started a thriving private practice.