The story of real life superhero Arunachalam Muruganantham will soon be played out on the big screen by Akshay Kumar as ‘Padman’. For those who don’t know Muruganantham is, then keep reading the story below.
The man behind world’s first low-cost machine for making sanitary towels had to wear one himself to prove his point.
Arunachalam Muruganantham is a school dropout from a poor family in southern India. He has revolutionised menstrual health for rural women in developing countries by inventing a simple machine they can use to make cheap sanitary pads. Muruganantham, also known as ‘India’s Menstrual Man’, has already been widely documented and reported about by both the Indian and international media.
The school drop-out who now lectures at Harvard, besides IITs and IIMs back home. The guy is now rubbing shoulders with Bill Gates and James Cameron no less.
His mission was to provide sanitary napkins at minimal cost to poor women across the country, especially in rural areas. In a country where menstruation is still spoken of as a shameful secret, Muruganantham decided to challenge a ‘taboo’.
He discovered that the usage of sanitary napkins in villages near his area was few, about one in 10.
He was shocked by the fact that women often used things such as old rags, sand, leaves and even ash while they were on periods.
He experimented by making pads out of cotton, which did not work.
He used his experiments on his wife and sisters to check if his indigenous pads were effective but they refused to continue using them after a few trials.
Muruganantham approached female medical students to try out his product, but they were shy and refused He then decided to wear the sanitary pad himself.
Muruganantham went around with a pad in his underwear and a bottle filled with animal blood, which would squeeze out the blood on to the pad at regular intervals.
His aim was to check the absorption rate of the sanitary napkins made by him.
It took him two years and three months to discover what sanitary pads are made of. Almost after four-and-a-half years, he successfully created a low-cost machine for the production of sanitary pads.
He was awarded by then President Pratibha Patil. Muruganantham made 250 machines in 18 months and se out for states in North – Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. He didn’t have to look back after that.
Today, he is successfully running a napkin business, Jayashree Industries, with 2003 units across India, including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. More than 21,000 women employees work in his venture
Watch Muruganantham’s TED Talk in Bengaluru here: