This is a story of man who stood up for his wife with courage and integrity…
We all know that Dr. Anandibai Joshi was India’s first woman doctor. And surely her journey to receive this medical degree was not at all easy. However, how many of us know that Gopal Rao Joshi, her husband was with her in all difficulties.
Anadibai was born in the year 1865, the time when women education was not common. She was from orthodox Maharashtrian family. As per the religious customs, at the age of 9 year she got married with elderly widower, Gopal rao. And it is just unbelievable that the there was a huge age difference of 20 years between both of them.
However, being progressive thinker, Gopal rao was great supporter of women’s education as well as widow remarriage. He realized after marriage that Anandibai has keen interest in gaining education. So, he tried to enroll her in the missionary schools. However, he fell in doing so. Then he himself started teaching her. He would take her for long walk so that he can take her teaching sessions. He did this as husband and wife were not allowed to speak with each other in the presence of others.
Gopal Rao was aware that it is very difficult to face the family and other oppositions. He changed his job and shifted to Mumbai and then to Alibaug. He finally shifted to Calcutta and found there good opportunity to provide further education to her wife.
When they lost their only son immediately after birth, Anandibai decided to become a doctor to save other women like her. Gopalrao encouraged her to study medicine and decided to send her to America. He was not having enough money for her higher studies, so he contacted his friend in US. However, refused his friends offer as they asked her to convert to Christianity. Finally he managed to send her wife for medical studies to America. Hindu communities were angry with Gopal rao’s decision. In spite of lot of criticism & opposition he did not gave up.
Anandibai showed a path towards new horizon of education to Indian women. However,Gopal Rao stood along with her for all those oppositions from people as well as family. He was the real soldier and great man behind Anandibai.