Jerusha Jhirad

Born(1891-03-21)21 March 1891
Died2 June 1984(1984-06-02) (aged 93)
AwardsPadma Shri

Jerusha Jacob Jhirad FRCOG, MBE (21 March 1891 – 2 June 1984) was an Indian physician.[1][2]

Early life and education

Jhirad born in Shivamogga, Karnataka.[3] She was a member of the Bene Israel Jewish community.[1][4] She attended high school in Pune,[3] then Grant Medical College in Bombay, where she became a Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery with an L.M.S. diploma in 1912.[5] She was the first woman to be granted a scholarship by the Indian government to study abroad.[1] In England she studied at the London School of Medicine for Women (based at the Royal Free Hospital), re-qualified as a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB BS) of the University of London in 1917[6] and went on to a doctorate (M.D.) in 1919 in Midwifery and Diseases of Women.[7] Specializing in obstetrics and gynaecology[5] she worked as a House Surgeon at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in London in 1917 and at the Birmingham Maternity Hospital in 1918 before returning to India.[8]


While she was studying in England during World War I, Jhirad was an obstetric assistant and house surgeon at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in London, and house surgeon at a maternity hospital in Birmingham. Back in India by 1920, she was briefly an obstetrician at the Lady Hardinge Hospital in Delhi. From 1920 to 1924, she was medical officer-in-charge at the maternity hospital in Bangalore. From 1925 to 1928 she was on the staff of the Cama Hospital in Mumbai, where she served as medical officer-in-charge in 1929 to 1947.[1][5]

Jhirad was appointed a justice of the peace in 1931.[5] In 1934 she provided medical assistance to survivors of an earthquake in Bihar.[3] In 1937 and 1938 she made a statistical study of maternal mortality in Bombay.[9] She was a founding member and president of the Bombay Obstetric and Gynaecological Society,[2] and president of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI).[4] and from 1947 to 1957 president of the Association of Medical Women in India (AMWI). She wrote in favor of sex education and healthy recreational options to limit unplanned pregnancies.[3] In 1950 she presided at the 6th All India Obstetric and Gynaecological Congress, held in Madras.[2]

Jhirad was also a pioneer of Progressive Judaism; after attending mixed-gender prayers at the Jewish Religious Union (JRU), she returned to Mumbai and founded a JRU-affiliated congregation among the Bene Israel with her sister Leah in 1925.[10]

Selected publications


In 1945, Jhirad was awarded an MBE by the British government. In 1947, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.[3] In 1966, she was awarded the Padma Shri.[1] The Venusian crater Jhirad was named after her.[20]

Personal life

Jhirad wrote a short autobiography in 1975, which informed her niece's biography of her, A Dream Realised: Biography of Dr Jerusha J. Jhirad (1990).[21] She died in 1984, aged 93 years.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Sharon Kirsh, Florence Kirsh (2002). Fabulous Female Physicians. Second Story Press. ISBN 1896764436. pp. 40-48
  2. ^ a b c Purandare, C. N.; Patel, Madhuri A.; Balsarkar, Geetha (June 2012). "Indian Contribution to Obstetrics and Gynecology". Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of India. 62 (3): 266–267. doi:10.1007/s13224-012-0270-5. ISSN 0971-9202. PMC 3444562. PMID 23730027.
  3. ^ a b c d e Ramanna, Mridula (2019). "A pioneer of maternal health: Jerusha Jhirad, 1890–1983". The National Medical Journal of India. 32 (4): 243–246. doi:10.4103/0970-258X.291309. ISSN 0970-258X. PMID 32769250. S2CID 221305146.
  4. ^ a b c Roland, Joan G.; Daniel, Noreen. "Bene Israel". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Kabadi Waman P. (1937). Indian Whos Who 1937-38. p. 333 – via Internet Archive.
  6. ^ "Historical Record of the University of London 1836 - 1926". 24 December 2023. p. 447.
  7. ^ "Historical Record of the University of London 1836 - 1926". 24 December 2023. p. 177.
  8. ^ "Indian Who's Who 1937-38". 24 December 2023. p. 333.
  9. ^ a b Jhirad, Jerusha. "Report on an investigation into the causes of maternal mortality in the city of Bombay." Health Bulletin No. 29 (1941).
  10. ^ "Maharashtra - Rodef Shalom Synagogue". Indian Jews. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  11. ^ Jhirad, J. "Medico-social work." Women in modern India. Bombay: Taraporewala 133 (1929).
  12. ^ Jhirad, Jerusha. "Maternal Mortality." Journal of the Association of Medical Women in India 24.3 (1936): 40-46.
  13. ^ Jhirad, J. "Uterine inversion" Medical Bulletin (January 28, 1946);14:16-21.
  14. ^ Jhirad, J. "Women in the medical profession." Journal of the Association of Medical Women in India 48.9 (1960).
  15. ^ Jhirad, J. "Practical aspects of birth control." Journal of the Association of Medical Women in India 51 (1963): 116-23.
  16. ^ Jhirad, J. "Role of legalization of abortions in population control." Journal of the Association of Medical Women in India 52 (1964): 98-100.
  17. ^ JHIRAD, J. "Careers for Medical Women in India" World Medical Journal 11 (1964): 29-30.
  18. ^ Jhirad J. "Ante-natal diagnosis" The Indian Practitioner. 19(1)(January 1966): 1-11.
  19. ^ Jhirad, Jerusha. "Obstetrics Then and Now" The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of India 18(April 1968): 157-172.
  20. ^ United States Geological Survey, Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature (1994): 18.
  21. ^ Jhirad, Abigail (1990). A dream realised: biography of Dr. Jerusha J. Jhirad. Bombay: ORT India. OCLC 23471624.