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Medico girls

Meant only for the ladies, Lady Hardinge Medical College opened its doors to male students in 1970... but only for postgraduate courses Vimal Chander Joshi reports

education Updated: Feb 24, 2010 09:22 IST
Vimal Chander Joshi

Enter the gates of this college and you’re welcomed by the statue of one of India’s vicereines, Lady Hardinge, standing tall. Most of the young ladies here can be found studiously poring over books — on the stairs leading to the auditorium or wherever they choose to spend time after classes.

The students epitomise the cultural diversity of India in a healthy way. Some are from the north-east, some from the south and a few from abroad. R Archana from Kerala says, “I share a room, which has a common balcony with the adjacent room, with two other girls. All six of us who live in these two rooms come from different states —Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar, UP, West Bengal and Kerala. We not only experience slices of different cultures but also get to enjoy an array of cuisines at times.”

The college, now under Delhi University, was earlier affiliated to Punjab University also . It now admits male students too.

Famous for: The only women’s medical college in the country (it takes in male students for postgraduate studies), the institution is known for its history, which is more than 93 years old.

Programmes: MBBS, diploma in nursing, MD, MS and diploma courses of DA, DO, DLO, DGO, DCH and DMRD

Extracurricular: There are hardly any cultural or sporting activities organised as most of the students’ time is spent on studies. Incidentally, a cricket match (a rare event) was organised among doctors from 11 departments recently. The wining team competed with teams from other medical colleges in Delhi, in a tournament held last week. “We are always busy with studies and can’t manage extra-curricular activities with it. We get our share of entertainment twice a year at our cultural events (Splash and Cobweb),” says R Archana, sports coordinator.

Infrastructure: The college is associated with Smt SK Hospital and Kalawati Saran Children’s hospital apart from some units in RML Hospital, where students go for their clinical postings.

The campus has a post office, a nationalised bank branch, a crèche, a swimming pool, tennis and badminton courts, a gymnasium and table tennis facilities.

The campus is not fully residential and around half of the students (especially Delhiites) are day scholars.

Found on campus: “Though it is considered an excellent place to study gynaecology and paediatrics, the teachers in other departments are also very good,” says Ramya, a final year MBBS student.

“Hostel rooms should be cleaner. There should be more rooms in the hostel to accommodate students from Delhi (most of them are day scholars). Dogs and pigeons have free run of the hostel and make things worse,” says Shipra Goel, a final year MBBS student

In early 20th century, it was almost impossible for women to study medicine in conservative India. To encourage them to join the profession, a women’s medical college was set up in 1914 in the name of Lady Hardinge, wife of the then Viceroy. Dr Kate Platt was the first principal of the college. Courses then took seven years to complete, including two years of pre-medical intermediate science course from the Punjab University. The pre-medical science departments were closed in 1935, thus reducing the programme duration to five years. The college came under Delhi University for its undergraduate programmes in 1950 and for its postgraduate courses in 1956. Earlier, only female students could study PG courses here but the college opened its doors to males too in 1970.