Menstruation, commonly known as "periods", is a natural phenomenon that is a part of every woman on this planet. We all know that it is vaginal bleeding that happens to women every month. In the earlier centuries, it was considered as some sin or gaucherie. Most people used to look at it disgustingly instead of realizing its importance. The main reason for this detestation was a lack of education and knowledge regarding the issue. However, as India took steps towards the education line and development of the country, menstruation became a less controversial topic and people started to accept it as a fact and reality. Still, even today, it is considered taboo in many houses. Parents and family don't educate their girls as well as boys about the same. This leads to many problems both physically and mentally.
Earlier women used to use cloth or cotton to soak all the bleeding and keep on washing the same cloth multiple time s and then used it again which resulted in health problems. They didn't take it seriously and end up regretting but did they have a choice?NO, the sanitary napkins available in that era were too costly for them to afford, so what choice would they have!
But out of the blue, a man came into the picture and changed the story. Ironically, a man invented sanitary napkins at a cheaper rate. But who is this man and how did he come up with this idea?
Arunachalam Muruganantham – The Real Padman
Arunachalam Muruganantham, a boy born on 7 January 1961, invented the sanitary pads at a cheaper rate. Now let's know his story in detail. He was born in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India in a labor family. Owing to their unstable financial condition, he was dropped out of school at the age of 14. He took up many small works including supplying food to factory workers, farm laborers, and likewise to support his family. Later in 1998 he was married to Shanthi and continue to live his life with her. Eventually, he saw that Shanthi was using filthy clothes or cotton or papers during her menstruation cycle. He was perplexed and uncomfortable to see her wife suffering and decided to make pads on his own. Although it was a difficult task, he thought of giving it a try.
Arunachalam Muruganantham – Making Pads for Women
At first, he made pads from cotton and asked his wife and sisters to try them but they rejected them. He tried different methods to make the pads usable but he wasn't getting any success, so, his wife stopped cooperating with him. He also realized that the final product is costing him more money.
Arunachalam Muruganantham - Failure
He continued trying. For feedback, he looked for women volunteers to try his product but it was not easy because women were uncomfortable discussing the taboo subject with him. Not willing to give up, he tested the product himself, by using a bladder filled with animal blood but he was mocked by society when he failed. This resulted in his family shunning him but by now, his willingness to invent pads became a mania.
He didn't give up and decided to take feedback about the sanitary pads from local medical college women students, so he started distributing the pads to them, free of charge.
Arunachalam Muruganantham - Success
He kept working hard and then after two years he discovered that the pads available in the market contain cellulose fiber, which is obtained from pine bark wood pulp. He contacted a dealer in Mumbai, India from where he used to get the wood pulp. The machines used to make pads were expensive in the market therefore he invented the low-cost machine to make pads. In 2006, he visited IIT Madras to display his work and receive feedback. His invention was nominated for the National Innovation Foundation's Grassroots Technological Innovations Award and he was awarded the award.
He is now known by the name "Padman". His machines are installed in 23 of the 29 states of India. In 2014, he made his place in Time Magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world. In 2016, he was honored by the Padmashri by the Government of India. He founded Jayashree Industries, which markets these machines to women of rural India. Numerous movies are made to make his story reach the public. These movies include Menstrual Man, P hullu, Padman, Period -End of Sentence. Some of the movies managed to get awarded. He has now become a social entrepreneur.
Final Words on Arunachalam Muruganantham
Mr. Arunachalam continues to provide these machines to self-help groups that are run by women, despite getting offers from corporate entities. His invention plays an important role in changing the lives of many Indian women. Also, through these machines, many women have gained a source of income for themselves and are free from fatal diseases, by providing them pads at low cost, which can be caused by using dirty cloth or cotton.
A simple man from a village has changed the lives of many people, especially women. His hard work and dedication are an encouraging factor. He proved that if you want to achieve something you definitely will, all you need is strong willpower. Also, it would be great if we take out some time from our busy lives and work for society for social welfare. Our little effort can make a big difference in someone's life.
Note- only the facts are taken from an internet source, Wikipedia