Arunachalam Muruganantham, who is known as the 'Menstrual Man of India' has successfully created simple machines for manufacturing low-cost sanitary napkins
Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man who is known as the ‘Menstrual Man of India’ successfully designed and created simple machines for manufacturing low-cost sanitary napkins
Until a few years ago, Arunachalam Muruganantham was just a man out to impress his newly-wed wife. Today, he has successfully designed and created simple machines for manufacturing sanitary napkins. Made for the benefit of women in rural India, these affordable sanitary napkins are no mean substitute for the more expensive, industrially manufactured variety.
Appalled at his wife and sisters using “nasty rags” during menstruation, Muruganantham took matters in his own hands when he saw that affordability came in the way of basic hygiene and comfort. He enlisted the help of his wife, sisters and female students from the local medical college, to help him figure out the best combination of raw materials needed to make sanitary pads.
Shunned by all for what appeared to be a “perverted” pre-occupation, including the wife whom he had set out to impress, Muruganantham turned again to his most useful and reliable resource- himself. Wearing a football bladder filled with goat blood under his clothes, he went about testing the absorption capacity of his makeshift sanitary napkin, which he himself had put on. It took him four years, and complete social ostracization, to eventually succeed in designing the ingenious machine which would make cheap sanitary napkins in a few easy steps.
Here is what we can learn from Muruganantham the “Menstrual Man”, and his unusual journey through the secrets and stigma around women’s bodies.
The single most daunting obstacle faced by Murugunantham, was the silence around the natural phenomenon of menstruation. The shame and reluctance that his wife and sisters felt in speaking about their bodies, followed by the derision of his entire village for raising a pertinent question about basic sanitation, is an alarming example of how we shy away from any healthy discussion about female sexual health. However, Murugunantham was not easily silenced.
Muruganantham’s wife, though aware of the uses and advantages of sanitary napkins, chose to use dirty rags instead, for the sake of cutting down on household expenditure. However, this shows how women’s sexual and reproductive health is an issue that always takes a backseat, both economically and socially. Shockingly, we are a society where nearly 80% women consider sanitary napkins to be an ‘unnecessary’ expenditure, or even an urban luxury.
A school dropout, and hailing from the backward hinterlands of south India, Murugunantham addressed a major lacuna in women’ s health, solely driven by curiosity, and a bewildered drive to solve a very basic sanitation problem in rural India. He educated himself industriously about the problem at hand, asked the right questions, and found solutions all by himself.
Yes. Feminism is NOT synonymous with misandry. Many men are, and can truly be feminists. True, the body experiences so essential to a more feminist understanding are something that men cannot fully relate to. But deep empathy, active awareness and a real belief in empowering women in a holistic manner, by equipping her economically, politically and socially, makes a man a feminist. And surely, Murugunantham is a heartening example.
Cover image via Facebook
Dabbling with many loves- literature and social development, quiet reading and loud activism, black coffee and pink scarves, a sleek new Mac and some musty Paperbacks. Always up for a good conversation, can be reached read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, indivisual posts do not necessarily represent the platofrom's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Hiding family issues to patriarchy, 'House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths' throws a light on several problematic aspects within the typical Indian family.
The spine-chilling Burari deaths that happened in 2018 were brought to light again with the Netflix series ‘House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths’. The eleven member Chundawat family were like any other middle class family who had been living in the neighborhood for the last twenty years. They also had a grocery and plywood shop in the same vicinity.
Rajeev Tomar the policeman who entered the Burari house after the incident, stated that he had never seen a scene like this in his entire career and the visuals still haunt him. He was in shock to see the entire family hanging with their hands tied and their eyes covered. The documentary mentions that there were 11 diaries that were found with various other notes that further deepened the mystery surrounding the deaths.
Jivuben, who became a mother at 70, travelled 150 kms twice a month for IVF procedures. It's a miracle, but there are Qs like who will raise the child as he grows?
After struggling to conceive for almost 45 years, Jivuben Rabari became a mother at 70! She welcomed her child through C-section in the eight month of pregnancy.
Jivunben who is reportedly 70 years old and her husband who is 75 hail from Kutch in the state of Gujarat. They had been struggling to have their own baby since four decades and were unsuccessful. They finally were able to have their child through IVF (In vitro fertilization).
Movies like Padman and people like A. Murugananthan need to be commended for helping make menstruation just another 'normal' topic.
Movies like Padman and people like A. Murugananthan need to be commended for doing their bit to make menstruation just another ‘normal’ topic that can be discussed openly.
Last week, the trailer of the much awaited movie #PadMan was launched. Starring the dependable Akshay Kumar, the multi talented Radhika Apte and fashion queen Sonam Kapoor, this was the maiden venture of MrsFunnybones production run by author and actress Twinkle Khanna. Based of the real life story of menstrual man Arunachalam Muruganantham, this is his journey of becoming a social entrepreneur by manufacturing machines to generate low-cost sanitary napkins and motivating women to become financially independent through the machines. All this started because he wanted to make his wife’s life easy during those days of bleeding.
Padman movie review: With good acting and a relevant subject, Padman is a good effort, though fewer 'filmy' elements could have helped make it even better.
Padman movie review: With some good acting and a fundamentally relevant subject, Padman manages to keep the audience interested, although tighter editing and less ‘filmy’ elements could have helped make it even better.
“You think I’m mad.