Oct 192020
 

Royal College of Physicians, 11 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ

Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians

When Kadambini Ganguly received her BA from the University of Calcutta in 1883, she became the first woman to graduate in India. This was monumental, since Calcutta Medical College had initially refused to admit her because of her gender. In 1893, she travelled to Edinburgh and studied for the Scottish Triple at the Royal College of Physicians. At the time, travelling to the UK to study was limited to a small but growing wealthy elite in India. At the college, she took courses in medicine, therapeutics, surgery, anatomy, midwifery, and medical jurisprudence. Ganguly continuously challenged society’s expectations of her. Her decision to study medicine abroad as a married woman provoked backlash from the upper-caste Bengali community, and when she received her diploma she was the only successful woman candidate in her cohort. When Ganguly returned to India, she practiced obstetrics and gynecology at Lady Dufferin Hospital in Calcutta, combining her medical work with political activism. She was one of six women delegates to the fifth session of the Indian National Congress in 1889, and organized a Women’s Conference in Calcutta in the aftermath of the 1906 partition of Bengal (which separated the majority Muslim East from the largely Hindu West).

Kadambini Ganguly
Kadambini Ganguly
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Apr 242018
 

Minto House.Minto House, The University of Edinburgh, 20-22 Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JZ

Here lived (1725-1878) the Elliots of Minto, important East India Company shareholders. The first Earl was Governor-General of India (1807-13), one brother was assistant to Warren Hastings, another was Governor of Madras. The 4th Earl became Viceroy (1905-10). After their house was demolished in 1878, the present building was erected. Elsie Inglis’ Women’s Medical College (1889-1908) was based here: Of 185 women it trained, at least 20 were born in India, and 46 worked there, including Hilla Furloonji Batliwala (nee Banajee); Kadambini Ganguly; Khorshed Sorabji Kanga; and Meher Ardeshir Dadabhai Naoroji (niece of Dadbhai Naoroji, the UK’s first Indian MP).

Shadow of Medical School sign on the pediment.

Shadow of Medical School sign on the pediment.

Portrait of George Eliot, 1st Earl of Minto, by James Atkinson.

Portrait of Gilbert, 1st Earl of Minto, 1820s.

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