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About the book

Did you know there was a time when there were no women doctors in India? Forget doctors, there were no women who went to high school, college or university. They were kept 'safe' at home by a patriarchal society who took great pleasure in ensuring women were neither seen nor heard nor treated as human beings. Not only in India, all around the world, the excuses for keeping women out of higher education were the same. Their traditional place in the home and their perceived intellectual inferiority.


How did all that change ? Who were the people brave enough to make that change? And what were the hurdles that society placed in their path? 


Set in Calcutta of the late nineteenth century, where religious, social and political reforms are causing widespread upheaval,  'The School for Bad Girls' is the story of those first fearless girls who dared to challenge society and achieve the unthinkable. And especially of Kadambini Ganguly, who defied all odds to become the first woman to graduate as a doctor in India. 

The Inspiration behind the book

Kadambini and all the women who followed in her footsteps. And all the women who continue to do so today, trying to reduce the ever-yawning gender gap in every sphere all over the world. This the story of a woman who claimed her rightful place in the vicious bigotry of a man's world and made a lasting impression for generations to come

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Characters from the book

Dwarakanath Ganguly

Firebrand reformer who fought against every injustice prevalent in society.  

Bidhumukhi Ganguly

was Dwarkanath’s daughter from his first marriage. 

Monomohan Ghosh (1844-1896)

Was the first Indian barrister to practice in Calcutta High Court. 

Annette Akroyd,
later Beveridge 

Was a British educationist who set up the first advanced school for girls in India. 

Ananda Mohan Bose (1847-1906)

Was an academic, politician and socially radical barrister.

Keshab Chandra Sen (1838-1884)

Was a social reformer influenced heavily by Unitarian theology.

Durgamohan Das

Was a practicing lawyer at Calcutta High Court and a social reformer.

Sarala Ray

is remembered for her pioneering efforts in women’s education and social upliftment. Notable among

Abala Bose

did not complete her medical course in Madras due to ill health. She returned to Calcutta and married scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose in 1887. 

Kamini Roy

was a poet, social worker and one of the earliest feminists. She was the first woman honours graduate in British India. 

Chandramukhi Bose (1860-1944)

was the first woman in the British Empire to pass the MA examination and the first principal of the Bethune College.

Alfred Woodley Croft (1841-1925)

was Director of Public Instruction in Bengal from 1877-1897.

Ashley Eden

was the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal from 1877 to 1882. Eden Hospital in Kolkata is named after him, as is the Eden (Mohila) College in Dhaka.

Augustus Rivers Thompson

was the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal from 1882-1887.

Richard Garth

was the Chief Justice of Bengal from 1875-1886, who infamously sentenced Surendranath Banerjee to imprisonment for libel. 

John Martin Coates (1832-1895)

was an Irish doctor and army surgeon who served across Bengal for forty years in various appointments. 

Arthur Hobhouse

was a lawyer and judge with strongly liberal beliefs. He was Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University from 1875 to1877.

William Markby

came to India as a judge of Calcutta High Court in 1866. He was Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University in 1877-78.

Alexander Arbuthnot (1822-1907)

was the Director of Public Instruction in Madras, where he was instrumental in founding/incorporating Madras University. 

Raja Rammohun Roy (1772-1833)

often called the ‘Father of the Indian Renaissance’ is known for his far reaching social, educational and religious reforms.

Sivanath Sastri

was a writer, scholar and social reformer, who was in the forefront of many significant reforms of the time.

Mary Carpenter

was an English educationist, social reformer and abolitionist, who worked for women’s education and upliftment.

Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858-1937)

was a polymath, best remembered as a scientist with a special interest in plant physiology and radio microwave research, which he demonstrated before Marconi.

Satyendranath Tagore (1842-1923)

was a writer and social reformer and the first Indian to be inducted into the Indian Civil Service in 1864.

 Jnadanandini Debi (1850-1941)

was Satyendranath’s child bride, who soon transformed into a social reformer in her own right.

Surendranath Banerjee (1848-1925)

was a politician and civil servant, who co founded the Indian Association and was known as ‘Rashtraguru’. 

Henry Beveridge

served extensively in nearly every corner of erstwhile Bengal from 1857 to 1893, first as civil servant, then as judge.

Revd Krishna Mohan Bannerjee (1813-1885)

was a thinker, professor and a prominent member of Derozio’s Young Bengal group, who converted to Christianity under the influence of Alexander Duff.

Monomohini Wheeler

was Revd Bannerjee’s daughter and was one of the first women to be appointed in a government.

Radharani Lahiri

was the niece of prominent Brahmo reformer and educationist Ramtanu Lahiri. 

Umesh Chunder Dutt (1840-1907)

was an educationist and social reformer who founded the Bamabodhini Sabha in 1863.

Ramkumar Bhattacharya known as ‘Vidyaratna’ (1836-1901)

was a Brahmo missionary, later turned wandering mendicant.

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The Kadambini Trail

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