Today almost everyone must be aware of the rural entrepreneur, Arunachalam Muruganantham who has invented a low-cost sanitary pad making machine. He was also the one who innovated grassroot level mechanisms for generating awareness about traditional unhygienic practices around menstruation in rural India.
His mini-machines, which can manufacture sanitary pads for less than a third of the cost of commercial pads, have been installed in 23 of the 29 states of India. He is currently planning to expand the production of these machines to 106 nations.
Do you know, in 2016, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Indian Government for this innovation of his?
After making a place in Twinkle Khanna’s bestseller, The Legend of Lakshmiprasad, the PadMan’s story is now going to be featured in a film.
And guess who’s playing Arunachalam’s character?
None other than Akshay Kumar himself. The film will be produced by Twinkle Khanna who aims to spread awareness about menstruation and sanitary hygiene. A source said, “It’s the kind of film that will appeal to Twinkle’s sensibilities. It will be directed by R Balki and will star Akshay. The concept is hers, and will be developed by R Balki.”
Arunachalam who once said, “I wore a sanitary pad myself, when my wife didn’t support me”, is finally getting appreciation for this noble cause. As menstruation is a taboo in India, it isn’t hard to imagine the difficulties he faced. Initially, when he decided to build his first prototype, he had thought about testing the pads.
His wife and sisters refused to co-operate with him and as a result he decided to test the pads on himself. And so he had built a uterus using a rubber bladder, filled it with animal blood and fixed it to his hip. This experiment caused his clothes to be soaked with blood and led to foul smells being emitted from him. By then, most people were convinced that he was perhaps ill or otherwise perverted.
However, during his research, he learnt that only 10 to 20 percent women had access to proper menstrual hygiene products and so he made it his mission to help all the women in his country. Now women groups and schools can buy his machine, produce their own sanitary pads and sell the surplus. In this way, Muruga’s machine has created jobs for women in rural India. He has started a revolution in our country.
Today he is one of India’s most well-known social entrepreneurs and TIME magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2014.
Our country needs more people like this man, who came forward to acknowledge this issue that was otherwise considered a taboo and often ignored. What seems to be the most notable fact is that none other but a man addressed the problems associated with menstrual hygiene and despite hundreds of difficulties, he overcame the problem with such an effective solution.
Kudos to you Arunachalam!
Article by: Priyanka Gandhi