Anandibai Joshee was the first Indian woman to qualify as a medical doctor. She was also the first Maharashtrian woman to pursue higher studies abroad. When she received the medical degree in March 1886 from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, she was barely twenty-one. Upon her return to India, she passed away in Pune a year later, a month short of her twenty-second birthday.
Anandibai chose a medical career because she wanted to serve other women who had inadequate health care. She defended this choice publicly and against heavy odds. Her personal life, too, was a continuous struggle on many fronts. Given the dramatic and eventful nature of her life, it is difficult to believe that she died so tragically young and despite treatment from both Western medical doctors and traditional Indian vaidyas. After her cremation according to Hindu rites, Gopalrao sent Anandibai's ashes to her 'American family' rather than immersing them in a holy river as was the usual practice. These ashes are buried in Mrs Carpenter's family lot in a cemetery in New York State. In death, too, their closeness endures.