[Mrs. Anandabai Joshi, F.T.S.]
Theosophist, May, 1883
Anonymous Notice | Note by H.P.B.
Mrs. Anandabai Joshi, F.T.S., the well-known Mahratta Brahmin lady, sailed yesterday by S.S. City of Calcutta for New York. She goes to America with the object of studying medicine. We hope that profiting by the grand privileges and facilities afforded to women in America, our brave sister may achieve there the greatest success. May she return from that ocean of freedom an M.D., having meanwhile avoided its two most prominent sandbanks: The Women’s Right Society and the Young Men’s Christian Association, both of which classes, like the roaring lion in the desert seeking whom he may devour, are ever on the watch to entice at their arrival the innocent and the unsuspecting. Noticing her departure, our contemporary of Lahore, The Tribune, makes the following extremely just remarks upon our courageous young sister:
“Mrs. Anandabay Joshi, the well-known Mahratta lady, who was the other day lecturing at the Serampore College, in Bengal, so eloquently in English, sailed on Friday before the last, by one of the City Line Steamers for New York on her intended visit and stay there to study medicine. Besides being well-educated this Native lady is possessed of no ordinary amount of moral courage. She is not a Christian convert, as many of us may suppose, but a married Hindu lady whose husband is still living. But she goes alone beyond the seas on her mission, while her husband remains at home, being the only stay and support of his parents. Such courage is but very rare, considering that her mission is to remove a national want—that of Hindu lady doctors—and the sacrifices are almost dreadful to think of. Not a whit less, or perhaps more, than that of Pundita Rama Bai, her earnestness in such a patriotic cause should, it is to be hoped, commend itself strongly to the liberalism and conscientiousness of her fellow countrymen and society that she may not be declared an outcast by them at her return. Backward Punjab, alas, has not got one single member of her sex who is capable of even sympathizing with her object as, we believe, many of her own Presidency will! So, while we sincerely wish her every success, we venture to think, that some of her sisters of her own Presidency, Mahratta and Parsee, who are farther advanced in education and enlightenment than the most proficient better-half of the young Bengal, admittedly foremost in the ranks of educated India, will follow suit—and that, the sooner the better.”
It is with a well-warranted pride that we say here that this act of courage—which can hardly be appreciated by Western people unacquainted with the merciless caste system and Zenana rules of India—is very much due to the influence of Mrs. Joshi’s husband, one of the most liberal-minded and intellectual Brahmins we know of, as one of the best friends and members of our society. We are proud indeed at the thought, that the first Brahmin lady, who thus becomes practically the pioneer of the great national movement now stirring public opinion in favour of the education and certain legitimate rights for the women of India—is a Fellow of our society. We cannot recommend her too warmly to the sympathies and best fraternal feelings of all our American Theosophists, and hope and pray that they should render the poor and brave young exile every service, and help her as much as it is within their power.—Ed. Note [H.P.B.]