Thursday, February 28, 2013
39,00 EUR / 48.75 US$
India. Original steel engraving. Bibliograph. Institut in Hidlburghausen. 1839. Good condition. Hand-coloured. 15x9,5cm. Matted.
39,00 EUR / 48.75 US$
Monday, February 25, 2013
19 TH CENTURY IRRIGATION& AGRICULTURE IN INDIA
Irrigation in the South;
PULLING WATER OUT OF A WELL WITH BULLOCK
GRINDING CORN USING BULLOCK
BAZAR GATE AREA, BOMBAY FORT SHOWS HARBOUR BUILDINGS-
A PALANQUIN TAXI,TENTS USED BY SOLDIERS,A WELL WITH WATER WHEEL;MAST OF SHIPS IN HARBOUR,STORAGE GODOWS
|A WATER WHEEL ,AS SEEN IN THE PICTURE ,ABOVE USED IN WELLS|
Paddle-wheel or tread-wheel-used to pump out or pump in water into paddy fields,before electricity came
Monday, February 18, 2013
Chances are you may or may not have heard of Anandibai Joshee, the first Indian woman to attend an American medical college and get a medical degree. Anandibai studied at the Women’s Medical College in Pennsylvania and returned to India after completing her studies. Tragically she died within months of her return on February 27, 1887. She was barely 22 years old.
The reason why we may not have heard of Anandibai is because she came to the US in the late 19th century. The US did not figure in the imagination of young Indians under the British Raj and neither was it their country of preference to study. It was England and the English universities that were the preferred destinations for modern young Indians like Kadambini Ganguly (who studied medicine in England the same time Anandibai was studying in the USA), Pandita Ramabai, Gandhi, Nehru and others.
So, how did Anandibai end up in the USA to study medicine? It appears to be a combination of preparation and luck along with a set of happy coincidences.
Anandibai was born on March 31,1865 to Ganaptrao and Gungabai Joshee in Poona, India. When she was 9-10 years old she was married off to Gopalrao Vinayak Joshee, who worked for the Indian postal service. Gopalrao was passionate that young women need to be educated and undertook the task of educating his young bride. How Anandibai came to study medicine may have influenced from a personal tragedy. Within a couple of years of her marriage Anandibai gave birth to a young baby boy, but tragically lost him within a few days of his birth. If only Anandibai had access to better medical facilities she may have been able to save her son. But that was not the case. Perhaps it was this personal loss of her young baby that inspired Anandibai to study medicine and specialize in obstetrics.
By the time she was 18 years Anandibai had been home schooled and was fluent in English and grammar as this letter highlights. Around this time Gopalrao had gotten in touch with Royal Wilder, an American missionary living in Princeton, New Jersey. Wilder was an old India man, and one of the early American missionaries to work in India. He came to India sometime in 1846 along with his wife and raised a family there. He worked mostly around Kolhapur area in Maharashtra for close to three decades before returning to the USA and founding “The Missionary Review” in Princeton. Wilder was the person who helped Anandibai and wrote about her desire to study in the US in his magazine, which in turn was read by Theodocia Carpenter, who eventually became the surrogate family for Anandibai during her stay in the US.
Through the efforts of Mrs. Carpenter and other Americans Anandibai was admitted to study medicine at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. This was the first medical college for women in the world and was established in 1850 and is today part of the Drexel University, College of Medicine.
When Anandibai arrived by ship to the US she was received by Mrs. Carpenter,
who continued to be in constant contact with the young Indian student. Anandibai sent long letters to her husband about her stay in the USA. It must have been a challenging experience considering that Anandibai adhered to a strict vegetarian diet and was not used to the brutal cold weather on the East Coast. During her last few months of her stay in the US she contracted tuberculosis. In spite of various challenges, Anandibai appears to have bravely endured the hardship and novelty of living in America and successfully completed her medical education. Interestingly Anandibai’s research thesis was Obstetrics among the Aryan Hindoos (see the image). For her graduation ceremony Anandibai invited her friend Pandita Ramabai, and this is confirmed by Max Mueller in his book Auld Lang Syne. Second Series. My Indian Friends.
On March 11, 1886 Anandibai received her degree in medicine, and instead of staying back in the US, she went back to India with her husband, who had come to accompany her back for the trip. In an interesting twist Anandibai went back to work in Kolhapur, the same are where Wilder had worked as a missionary during his 30 year stay in India. But, within months of her return Anandibai succumbed to tuberculosis and died. Her ashes were sent to Mrs. Carpenter, who erected a tombstone for Anandibai in her family burial plot in Poughkeepsie, New York.
When she was exploring her options to study in American she was often asked if she would convert to Christianity, a suggestion she resisted. Perhaps that might explain the reason why the epitaph on her American tombstone reads: “First Brahmin woman to leave India and obtain an education.”
Sadly, one of the unintended consequences of Anandibai’s progressive education was the change that it brought about in her reform-minded husband. While she was adjusting to her new life in America and putting up a brave face her husband appears to have developed a certain amount of resentment towards her progress.
Anandibai’s pathbreaking education did not go unnoticed. In 1886 Carolina Dall wrote a book on “Life of Dr. Anandbai Joshee.” where she outlined in great detail about the Anandibai and her life in the USA.
Thanks to Dr. Ashok Gore in Southern California for sharing the information and pictures and images related to Anandibai Joshee. Dr. Gore was kind enough to let me leaf through an old and well-preserved copy of Life of Dr. Anandibai Joshee written by Caroline Dall in the late 19th century. Mrs. Dall was one of the first people to write extensively about Anandibai. The book appears to have got quite a bit of publicity including this one-line description from The Nation in 1888. The proceeds from the sale of the book was to benefit Pandita Ramabai’s school fund. The book is a treasure trove that contains all kinds of information about the first Indian woman to study medicine in the USA. Dr. Gore has been tirelessly working on collecting and spreading awareness about Anandibai Joshee for nearly 25 years.
On 11 March 1889 the Indian activist known as Pandita Ramabai opened her Sharada Sadan (or Home for Learning) in Chowpatty, an area of Mumbai (which was then, under the British Raj, known as Bombay). She designed this institution to further a cause dear to her heart: security and an education for Hindu women who were widowed young. With this, after spending five years abroad in England and the USA, Pandita Ramabai launched her mission to improve the lives and opportunities of Indian women.
She was born as Ramabai Dongre, a high-caste Brahmin. While she was still very young her family fell into poverty and took to the roads as religious vagrants, travelling the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent and learning many of its languages. When she was sixteen both of her parents died of starvation, closely followed by her sister. Only she and her brother were left. Despite these horrors, her taste for reading enabled her at the age of twenty to become the first woman in India to earn the titles of pandita (the feminine of pundit, or Sanskrit scholar) and sarasvati, after examination by the faculty of the University of Calcutta. She then married a Shudra, a man of a labouring caste who were debarred from education.
Such a marriage would have been impossible before the Civil Marriage Act of 1872. Put together with Ramabai’s scholarly achievement it represents a remarkable commitment to the questioning of tradition, The marriage seems to have been happy, but it was brief. Ramabai’s husband died less than two years afterwards, leaving her with a daughter. In the first year of her widowhood she did three highly significant things. She founded the Arya Mahila Samaj, a society of high-caste Hindu women working for the education of girls and against child marriage. She published her first book, Morals for Women, or in the original Marathi Stri Dharma Niti. And she testified before the Hunter Commission on Education in India, an enquiry set up by the British government. (Her testimony, which was later printed, is said to have influenced the thinking of Queen Victoria.)
The year after that she sailed for England, where she hoped to study medicine so that in the end she could return to India as a doctor. This was startlingly innovative: those few women practising as physicians in Britain at this date had trained in continental Europe or the USA. Pioneering female medical students at Edinburgh University were just then meeting with opposition both from stealthy committee work (changing the rules from year to year, withdrawing permissions already granted) and from raucous male students who screamed and threw mud. (The results of a chronological search in Orlando on Sophia Jex-Blake, on Edinburgh, or indeed on medicine during the mid and later nineteenth century, each tell a gripping story.) Jex-Blake founded the London School of Medicine for Women in 1874, during Ramabai’s stay in England. The Times came out in favour of medical education for women only in 1878, after she had left. Ramabai found, apparently, that a greater impediment to her own medical education in England than being female or being Indian was the fact that she was deaf. Instead she used her time in England to continue the study of Christianity which she had begun in India (her faith in Hinduism had been shaken by the deaths of her parents) and had herself and her young daughter baptised as Anglican Christians.
Many aspects of English life appealed to her, but having rejected the Indian caste system by her marriage she was uncomfortable with the hierarchy of social classes in England. Her view of the country must have been darkened when an Indian woman who was accompanying her committed suicide. Having relinquished her own dreams of a medical degree, she travelled on to the USA to attend the graduation from the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia of Anandibai Joshee, the first Indian woman to become a medical doctor, who was also her distant relation.
Pandita Ramabai was by now full of plans for reforms in India, and spent much of her time in America (and briefly in Canada) fund-raising. She took up American causes too, supporting in print the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and speaking at the first meeting of the International Council of Women in 1888 (a body which brought together activists from the US, Britain and Canada). She took a course in kindergarten teaching. In America she found the kind of democracy and the kind of women’s education that she was looking for. “The national might of the United States,” she wrote, perhaps drawing an implicit contrast with Britain, “does not lie in its standing army, cannons, and swords; it lies in the educational advancement and diligence of the nation’s inhabitants.”
By the end of 1888 Pandita Ramabai was back in India, where she very soon founded her Sharada Sadan, or Home for Learning. Women in this community were taught the doctrines of Christianity, though they were also free to continue in their Hindu beliefs. Ramabai ran into problems in India when she was seen as part of the Christian missionary effort, though the same perception was useful when fund-raising in the USA. In fact her own position was ecumenical, in keeping with her internationalism and her opposition to divisions of caste and gender. The Sharada Sadan was only one of her many initiatives working for the education of women (from young girls to adults) and for security for widows. When famine and plague struck the central Indian provinces in the late 1890s, she turned her attention to the housing and education of famine victims, creating a new organization for this purpose. She published in Hindi and Sanskrit as well as in Marathi and English. Her travel books about England and America interestingly reverse the conventions of the western travel writer in the East. Her last, posthumous work was a translation of the entire Bible into Marathi. Half a century after her death, A. B. Shah called her “the greatest woman produced by modern India and one of the greatest Indians in all history.”
It is humbling to realise how few Western feminists know about Pandita Ramabai. A number of scholarly works have appeared about her recently in both India and the west (notably by the Indian feminist sociologist Meera Kosambi), but she is not widely known. In spite of her privileged background and her conversion to Christianity, she is very much a heroine for our times. And of course she did not work alone. Such reforms as the Age of Consent to Marriage Bill, 1891 (which raised the legal age only from ten to twelve), took the efforts of innumerable doctors, journalists, and others, many of them women. Indian society as it is today owes an immeasurable debt to feminist thinkers like Pandita Ramabai.
This information is provided by Dr Isobel Grundy, University of Alberta, and comes from Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present, Cambridge University Press, by subscription: see http://orlando.cambridge.org.
In this book, Pandita Ramabai relates the story of her life with all its ups and downs from her birth in a high caste Hindu Brahmin family till her encounter with Jesus Christ. She describes how she overcame the many prejudices of Indian society to help downtrodden and fallen women. She also describes her own spiritual journey, both in India and in the West and how various persons and events influenced her in an insightful, honest and down to earth manner.
This book is the personal testimony of one of India’s most revolutionary thinkers of her time – more than 100 years ago.
Her achievements were many:
- She was an exceptional Sanskrit scholar of her time when women did not have access to basic educational facilities. Recognizing this, she was conferred the title of “Pandita” by Calcutta University.
- She was a social reformer and defying the caste system, married a Shudra.
- She established Arya Mahila Samaj in 1882 for the cause of women’s education.
- In 1896, during a severe famine, she toured the villages of Maharashtra and rescued thousands of outcast children, widows, orphans and other destitute women.
- She established the Sharada Sadan in 1889 which eventually blossomed into what is known as the Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission.
- She translated the Bible into her native language, Marathi, from the original Hebrew and Greek texts.