Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Menstrual Man


Menstrual Man ?!!

Are you rubbing your eyes and re-reading the header?

Menstrual? And Man?!

No, I am not going nuts. You read that right.

Last night on TV, I saw a program about a gentleman hailing from a village in South India, deal with a problem. A very "female" problem. A problem with multiple dimensions to it; Myths, hygiene, superstition, cost and a taboo topic to boot, in most parts of India and maybe in other parts of the world.

Source : Google Images
Source : Google Images
Menstruation, in many parts of India has several unwritten rules & restrictions associated with it. So many Dos and Don'ts during that time of the month, every month from the time the girl starts menstruating till she hits menopause. The movement and freedom of women and kids, during their period is restricted many ways. I understand that many of the girls in rural areas drop out of school once they hit puberty due to these myths & taboo, as well as the unavailability of good & low-cost hygiene products. As anyone who tries to swim against the current knows, it is neither easy nor simple to change a mindset; a centuries old mindset which has the collective weight of religion, culture, superstition and sometimes business, behind it.

Now, this person, being a man did not help matters much. He had his task cut out. He wanted to bring about a change, a revolution in the lives of women, after he saw his wife collecting rags to use during her period as they could not afford the expensive pads. He wanted to come up with low cost good quality pads. However, his intention was misunderstood and he was ostracised by his family, neighbours and his village. His own family left him, during the time he was researching on the solution. He did not lose faith and continued his work. 

Source : Google Images
After years of toil, this simple and unassuming gentleman with no fancy degree and with hardly any money, invented a machine which turns out sanitary pads in a cost effective and simple manner. This patented machine has changed not only his life but all also the lives of many thousands of women (mostly rural) in India. Yes, his family also came back to him, once they were convinced of his belief and intentions. These machines are marketed to women-run self-help groups in rural India, thus providing employment to women as well as helping them to find a new freedom in their lives. He believed strongly in bringing about a social change in the country through his venture. And he has succeeded to a large extent in this.

I understand that he has received offers from several national and international firms to commercialise his venture, but he has steadfastly refused to sell out to them. In a world where businesses focus on profits at any cost, this person has brought in a refreshing outlook. There is so much to learn from this simple and straight forward gentleman.

His efforts have been rightly recognised by several institutions in India and abroad, thus bringing the much required focus on a much needed social change.

Arunachalam Muruganantham - Source : Google Images

Ladies and gentlemen, that person is Mr. Arunachalam Muruganantham, also known as the Menstrual Man, the name from the documentary on him by Amit Virmani.

Here's more power to a very thoughtful man, who had the courage and belief to change the lives of hundreds if not thousands of women, for the better. He continues to strive for this cause, even today.



For A-Z Challenge 2014


Here are some of my fellow challengers:
Rohan



28 comments:

  1. Indeed.. his talk on TED was an eye opener !! his stout perseverance of his goals was the only reason for his success.. !!

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    1. TRue Ravi. I am happy that someone came up with the solution . However, what gets my goat is that, a man arrived at a solution while women just silently suffered. Why no woman (including myself) thought of this or something similar!

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  2. This was a eye opener for me !
    Good post !

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  3. I saw his ted x videos and shared it where ever I can. Arunachalam is true inspiration !
    Hats off to him!
    Thanks for writing this

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    1. Thank you Afshan! He surely is inspiring.

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  4. This is a very inspiring post ! You made all of us aware, how one man made the lives on rural women in India bearable.Thanks for sharing !

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  5. I watched his talk and makes me happy that people think about women ...men think about helping women!

    M for Motherly-Random Thoughts Naba

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    1. Nabanita, it's true that there are men who are genuinely concerned about women, the same way there are women who go to any lengths to destroy women. It takes all kinds to make up this world.

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  6. Great post, I have seen his ted x video and liked his perseverance and dedication to this great cause. He is bringing about a social change with his work with women and making them independent too.

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    1. Thank you, Sulekkha. And the best part is that he is not any big shot guy belonging to a major corporation. A very avergae person just like you and me. And if he can do it why we can't we?

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  7. He is an inspiration, liked the ted x video. The work he is doing is commendable. Great post for M today.

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  8. How what is taken for granted in one culture is totally unusual in another.
    Thank you,
    Susan
    Garden of Eden Blog

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Susan. True, different cultures view things differently.

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  9. I've heard about him and I truly applaud his integrity!!

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  10. What a fabulous post Prathima! God bless Mr. Arunachalam Muruganantham. To feel the pain and difficulty of another is truly extraordinary! :D

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    1. Thank you Dagny. Empathy and subsequent action makes a huge difference.

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  11. I hadn't heard about him...what an eye opener! And he has given a TED Talk too? Must look for it over the weekend. Excellent post!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Anon. Oh yes, his talks / interviews are in Youtube as well.

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  12. Have swen his videos. ..he truly is inspiring!

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  13. Have seen him on TED...kudos to him.

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  14. i have read about him in details, how he researched etc. hez a wonder. Thanks for posting this Prathima. :)

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