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KRUPA BAI SATT HIANADHAN (1862–1894)


Krupa was a second generation Christian, her parents Haripant and Radhabai being the first Christian converts in the Bombay (now Mumbai) Presidency. She was the twelfth of 14 children. Of her brothers, her relationship with Bhasker was significant, as he encouraged her to develop her mind and aspire to make something of herself; his early death was a great blow to her. In 1878 she became the first woman to join the Madras Medical College. When she entered class the other students all stood up and cheered. She worked hard, but like Anandibai Joshi (q.v.) who also qualified in medicine, her health began to suffer. She graduated with high marks, but by then was already quite ill.

She had married Samuel Satthianadhan, the son of her guardian in Madras, and he encouraged her to write and helped publish her work. She wrote her first novel, Saguna: A Story of Native Christian Life, in English. This is an acutely observed, sensitively written account of a young Christian girl’s growing up, and her perception of her relations both with white Christians and Hindu Indians. Her second novel, Kamala: A Story of Hindu Life, is more accomplished than the first, and gives a hint of what she could have done had she lived. However, when she wrote it she was on her deathbed with terminal tuberculosis; the last few chapters were dictated to her husband.
 
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