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 was not merely India's first woman doctor: she was also a feminist and a nationalist at a time when women were a rarity in the public sphere. Although not a scientist in the proper sense of the term, Anandibai wrote and researched on matters of public health while still a medical student. She was an intelligent woman who was dispassionately perceptive of herself and her society - one who had independent views on contemporary gender issues. She was fearless in pointing out the obstacles to women's education in India, and yet was firmly anchored to an Indian cultural and nationalistic identity.