Today Google Doodle is celebrating the birth anniversary of Rukhmabai Raut. She was the first Indian woman to practice medicine in colonial India. She was one of the British India’s earliest practicing women doctors.
It is because of her women in modern India are given importance & rights of consent. Rukhmabai Raut was born n November 22, 1864 in Bombay, now Mumbai. She was born to Janardhan Pandurang and Jayantibai who belonged to community of carpenters. After Janardhan passed away, Jayantibai married of Rukhmabai at an early age of eleven to Dadaji Bhikaji, who was aged nineteen. Jayantibai married a widower, Dr Sakharam Arjun Raut. Dadaji and his family asked Rukhmabai to move to his home, she refused and Dr. Arjun Raut supported her choice.
This led to Dadaji seeking orders of court asking his wife to live with him. Rukhmabai refused to move in by stating that a woman cannot be forced to stay in a wedlock when she is not interested. The case between Dadaji and Rukhmabai went on for three years. The court ordered Rukhmabai to live with her husband or face six months imprisonment. She was willing to opt the latter.
However, the verdict was subsequently overruled by Queen Victoria and this prompted the government to bring the Age of Consent Act, 1891, despite opposition from conservative Indians.
After this case, Rukhmabai chose to be trained as a doctor. Dr. Edith Pechey of Bombay’s Cama Hospital, activists, and fellow Indians in England supported her to complete her course in the London School of Medicine. She then returned to India in 1894 and practised in Surat, Rajkot, and Bombay for the next 35 years.
She passed away on September 25, 1955. She was a social activist till the age of 91. Google India has paid homage to Rukhmabai on her 153rd birth anniversary by a doodle illustrated by Shreya Gupta.
Written By: Alka Prasad