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SMCW - Maharashtra’s first ‘women only’ medical college

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on March 07, 2021

Symbiosis Medical College for Women. Photo: SMCW website

The ‘Anandi Gopal Scholarship’ is awarded to the college’s top five students, who qualified through the NEET exams

At their induction ceremony in February 2021, the students of the first-year MBBS batch at The Symbiosis Medical College for Women (SMCW) in Pune watched the Marathi movie ‘Anandi Gopal’ with mixed emotions of admiration and contentment.

The film, based on the struggles of Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi (March 31, 1865–February 26, 1887), one of the first Indian female practitioners of western medicine (alongside Kadambini Ganguly), led to setting up of the college.

Started in 2021, SMCW – the first ‘women only’ medical college in Maharashtra and the third medical college in the country, exclusively for women, – is also a tribute to Anandi Gopal’s courage and willpower, as much an initiative to improve women’s education.

The college, a purely residential college, was set up Symbiosis International (Deemed University) Founder and Chancellor S B Mujumdar, who got inspired after watching the biopic.

“I would term it as a divine coincidence of my life. The courage of Anandi Gopal, who went to America to study medicine, inspired us to start the medical college. Till that point, Symbiosis, which had a hospital - Symbiosis University Hospital and Research Centre – had decided not to foray into medical education,” Mujumdar said.

“The idea of screening the movie at the induction ceremony was to inspire the 150 female students, the very first batch of the all-women college, to soldier on despite the odds,” he added.

At the induction ceremony, which was attended by a team of the movie including its director Sameer Vidwans, all the students – took an oath to “never to discontinue practising medicine”.

“Today only about 17 per cent of the doctors in India are females, as many of them dropout even after passing out with high marks. Motivating them to practise, do researches or use technology to practise from home can go a long way in correcting this bias,” Mujumdar added.

The 150 students are from by 12 states, with about 13 from Rajasthan and others from Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra. Of the total 120 faculties of SMCW, about 60-65 per cent are women.

“Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi was a woman who challenged the status quo and pioneered the way for many women in her lifetime. While the movie has made Anandibai and her grit immortal, it has also inspired in setting up an all women’s medical college in Maharastra,” Shariq Patel, Chief Business Officer at Zee Studios said.

The medical college has also begun to use technology in classroom, like live streaming of surgeries from operation theatres, while the college also prides in charging low-fees compared with other private medical colleges in the country.

SMCW has provided ‘Anandi Gopal Scholarship’ to top five students, who qualified through the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test exam and enrolled for the MBBS course.

For Mujumdar, the next milestone is ‘globalisation of minds’, an idea hived off from ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, with people working together with same vision and intent.

Published on March 07, 2021

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