This Padma Bhushan awardee was the first female legislator in British India. An eminent medical practitioner, a social reformer in India, she has constantly broken down the barriers of oppression against the rights of the young girls.
To honor and celebrate Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy‘s life and work, Google has also created a beautiful doodle today for her who has devoted her whole life to fight the battle against gender equality and transformed the lives of infinite young girls. She also worked in the areas of public health.
This year, all the government hospitals in Tamil Nadu are likely to celebrate July 30 as “Hospital Day” to commemorate the extraordinary and superlative achievements of Dr. Reddy on her birth anniversary.
Her life and Works
Born on July 30 in 1883 in Tamil Nadu, Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy was the first woman to work as a surgeon in a government hospital as well. She was a feminist even before this term was coined. She also fought against the Devadasi system.
If you turn the pages of history, you will find, to protect the young girls who were Devadasis, she took them in her own house and tried to put them in hostels and schools. But due to the patriarchal mindset, no one used to accept these girls. Unable to find a safe haven for girls, she decided to start Avvai Home hostel and school and offered them a choice as well as anonymity regarding this matter.
It is no surprise that like other young girls during that time, she too was forced by her parents for an early marriage. She didn’t break down, rather convinced her parents that she also deserves to study.
Formerly an all-boys school, she attended the Maharaja College in Tamil Nadu, graduated with distinction from the college and went on to become the first woman student at the Madras Medical College.
This woman also gave up her medical career and joined the Madras Legislative Council, where she fought to raise the legal age of marriage for women and also against the exploitation of girls.
She got married in 1914 to a doctor named Sundara Reddy and worked for the upliftment of women.
She also lost her sister to cancer and it was during that time she founded Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai in 1954, which is said to treat more than 80,000 patients every year.
For her incredible service in this country and literally changing the fate of women and freeing them from the barriers, and oppressive rules, in 1956, she was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.
This woman was literally a chain breaker of every kind of injustice and inequality against women. While she is no more with us today, but her dedication towards the betterment of society will inspire millions for infinite years to come!