Menstruation, before being a biological process, is a taboo in our country. We don’t talk about it. We whisper when mentioning it. We totally ignore people and conversations regarding menstruation. In short we aren’t free. Why? Because we are ashamed. We are ashamed to acknowledge the fact that blood flow from the uterus is a prime reason of our birth. But there’s one man who is not.
Arunachalam Muruganantham is the Menstruation Man of India. Born in Coimbatore, Arun was faced with the challenge of providing hygiene to his reluctant wife. His wife Shanthi used and reused dirty rags for her periods as sanitary napkins were expensive. Arun loved his wife and felt that the dirty rags could lead to a health hazard. So he took upon the very difficult task of understanding periods and making pads himself!
You must be thinking, how can a man possibly understand what a woman goes through during her periods. Arun also thought the same and thus decided to talk to women about it. Initially, he made pads out of cotton which were rejected by his wife and sisters. They refused to be his test subjects. Arun decided to test his samples himself!
He used animal blood and wore his pads himself to test. He faced a lot of rejection from men, women and the society as a whole. The pads he wore were ‘discovered’ by the villagers and Arun was banned by his community. But the man was on a mission.
A foreign sanitary pad making machine costs INR 35 million. He couldn’t digest the fact that Americans were needed for Indian women to be hygienic. After two long years of research and analysis, Arun finally came up with the perfect formula and an indigenous machine for only INR 65,000.
Arun made it to the TIME list of 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2014. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India and has been invited to Harvard, IIT Bombay, IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Bangalore for lectures.
Watch Arunachalam Muruganantham: India’s Menstruation Man, a documentary by AlJazeera that tells the story of this incredible Indian.
Share this story with you friends and family. It’s time we clear our society of unnecessary and backward ideologies. It’s time we find Arunachalam is all of us.
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