Meher Ardeshir Dadabhai Naoroji

Image reproduced courtesy of the Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh

By Devika

Meher A.D. Naoroji came to the University in 1901 and was the first Indian woman to gain a degree from the University of Edinburgh (rather than the ‘Scottish Triple’). She graduated on 27 July 1906 with an MB (Bachelor of Medicine) and ChB degree (Bachelor of Surgery). These would have qualified her to be a doctor. Meher came to Edinburgh on a scholarship from the royal Jadeja family of Kutch, then ruled by Maharajadhiraj Mirza Maharao Sir Khengarji III Sawai Bahadur GCSI GCIE. She was the granddaughter of Dadabhai Naoroji, professor, merchant, founding member of the Indian National Congress and the first Asian MP in the British Parliament.

After her return to India, Meher served some time in Karachi before she was requested by the royal family of Kutch to come back, due to the need of female doctors. She stayed and served as a doctor in the Bhuj region for the rest of her life.  She was a recluse and preferred not to interact with people, though she was extremely close to the royal family. Kumar Shri Dilip Singh Ji, descendant of the Jadeja royal line and brought into the world by Meherbano, remembers her as a strict, disciplined and conscientious woman who was at the clinic at 6am sharp in the morning. She would help her patients regardless of their social status, a trait of the Naoroji family according to Dilip Singh Ji.

She stayed in a separate bungalow next to her brother Sarosh Naoroji, who also was a medical student in Edinburgh at one point. After a lifetime of service as the “lady doctor” to the state of Kutch, she died in 1974.

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