The good doctor of Travancore (10 August 2019)

त्रावणकोरच्या पहिल्या महिला डॉक्टरची प्रेरणादायी कहाणी

Manu S Pillai

(My column in Mint Lounge, August 10 2019)

Dr. Mary Punnen Lukose for Cover.jpg

In July 1926, the secretary to the pregnant maharani of Travancore received a letter from his royal mistress’ doctor. Sheds, wrote M.P. Lukose, had to be erected on the palace premises—one, fully furnished, for the surgeon who would deliver the maharani’s baby, and two for another doctor and nurses. An extra tent would also need to be raised where officers of the state could wait for news on the royal delivery—after all, a 21-gun salute would need to be fired to honour the new arrival, and alert the press. A list of items in precise quantities was also forwarded: six yards of silk to wrap the newborn in, for instance, and exactly 12 bars of Vinolia Otto soap for the mother and 12 of Pears for the child. The baby was only due a few months later, of course, but since…

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