Rukhmabai

Location

London School of Medicine for Women NW3 2QG
United Kingdom
51° 33' 48.6144" N, 0° 11' 2.2236" W
Other names: 

Rukhmabhai

1
Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1864
Precise DOB unknown: 
Y
City of birth: 
Bombay
Country of birth: 
India
Current name city of birth: 
Mumbai
Current name country of birth: 
India
Date of death: 
01 Jan 1955
Precise date of death unknown: 
Y
Location of death: 
Bombay, India
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1889-94

2
About: 

Born in 1864, Rukhmabai was married at 11 years to Dadaji Bhikaji, then aged nineteen. When her in-laws insisted that she move into the marital home some years later, Rukhmabai refused and the case was brought to court. The case came to the attention of the British press as the issue of child marriage and the rights of women were brought to the fore. Although the case went in Rukhmabai's favour, an appeal went in Dadaji's favour.

A fund was raised for Rukhmabai to travel to England to study medicine. In 1889, she arrived in England. She enrolled in the London School of Medicine and qualified as a doctor in 1894 (having also studied at the Royal Free Hospital). She then returned to India and worked as the Medical Officer for Women in Surat for twenty two years and then in Rajkot for twelve years.

Connections: 

Harvey Carlisle (wrote to The Times with Rukhmabai's letter in 1887), B. M. Malabari, Louisa Martindale (classmate at London School of Medicine), Sir Monier Williams (wrote to the press in relation to her case), Dr Edith Pechey Phipson (championed Rukhmabai in Bombay and helped raise funds for her to study in UK), Eve McLaren, Pandita Ramabai, Cornelia Sorabji.

3
Published works: 

'Indian Child Marriage (an Appeal to the British Government)', New Review, 16 (Sept. 1890), pp. 263-9

'Purdah - the Need for its Abolition', in Mithan Choksi and Evelyn Gedge (eds) Women in Modern India (Fifteen Papers by Indian Women Writers) (Bombay: D. B. Taraporewala & Co., 1929)

Contributions to periodicals: 

'Letter to editor', The Times (9 April 1887)

Notice', The Times (15 May 1894)

Secondary works: 

Burton, Antoinette, 'From Child Bride to "Hindoo Lady": Rukhmabai and the Debate on Sexual Respectability in Imperial Britain', The American Historical Review 103.4 (October 1998), pp. 1119-46

Chandra, Sudhir, Enslaved Daughters: Colonialism, Law and Women's Rights (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998)

Forbes, Geraldine, Women in Modern India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)

de Souza, Eunice and Pereira, Lindsay (eds), Women's Voices: Selections from Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Indian Writing in English (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002)

4
Archive source: 

The Times, 1887