After I first told my friends that I was working on this biography, they would send me links whenever the famous photo of Anandi and two other foreign medical students would appear on Facebook.
For a while, I received such messages about ever month. Since my friends were Indian as well as not-Indian, it was clear that Anandi’s story had universal appeal.
This was further confirmed when the story was featured on NPR. One of the great pleasures of my work on this book is the opportunity to read Anandi’s letters — written in a language not her own, but written with fluency and polish, and also infused with her sense of purpose. For example, here is a quote from the NPR story:
[The] determination which has brought me to your country against the combined opposition of my friends and caste ought to go a long way towards helping me to carry out the purpose for which I came, i.e. is to to render to my poor suffering country women the true medical aid they so sadly stand in need of and which they would rather die than accept at the hands of a male physician. The voice of humanity is with me and I must not fail. My soul is moved to help the many who cannot help themselves.
Anandi’s story was also featured on Huffington Post. This one offers a peek at Anandi’s penmanship, and (in her own words) her academic preparation and her need for financial support.
Eighteen years old, home-schooled by her husband, lost her newborn son at fourteen, faced down the opposition of caste and community, traveled alone to the far end of the earth — all in order To Be Useful to her helpless countrywomen.
Humbling and Inspiring.