Arunachalam Muruganantham is probably the only man in the world who has tried the sanitary pad on himself. He is the man behind the world’s first low-cost machine for sanitary pads. He is popularly known as the Padman.
Early Life Of Arunachalam Muruganantham
He was the son of a poor handloom weaver in Coimbatore, India. He was born in 1962 to Arunachalam and Vanitha. Because of his father’s death in a road accident, his mother Vanitha had worked in the farms as a daily labourer to help in his studies. He dropped out from school at the age of 14. He used to supply food for factory workers, and also took up various other jobs like machine operator, farm labourer, welder, and many others to support his family. He married Shanti in 1998.
What Made Him Concerned?
He observed his wife collecting and using dirty rags and newspapers to use during her monthly periods as she just cannot afford the expensive sanitary napkins. Concerned by this he started designing experimental menstrual pads to impress his wife and decided to produce her sanitary pads all by himself. It all seemed easy to him in the beginning. But his first experimental pad has got a negative feedback from his wife. He tried wrapping the thin layer of cotton around the pieces of wool which doesn’t work well.
His Journey To Success
The difficulty he faced while in this process of trying to bring in the cheapest pads is that he had to wait for a month to let his wife try. So, he thought of getting some volunteers and managed to find some volunteers who are the medical students from the nearby college, but they were too shy to give him proper and detailed feedback. So, he then decided to try the prototype pads all by himself as he has no alternative to go with.
He fixed a rubber bladder that is filled with animal blood on his hip. He connected a tube that goes from this artificial uterus to the sanitary pad in his underpants. The menstrual flow is simulated by him by pressing on the artificial bladder.
Because of the animal blood, he started to smell foul and often get stained with blood on his clothes. Everyone used to think about him in a bad way and thought of him as a pervert. His wife being not able to bear all these rumors had left him and went to live with her mother.
But he never gave up as he knew that it was not a mission just to help her wife, but to many poor women in India who are not fortunate enough to buy sanitary napkins.
It, then took him about 5 years to finally come with a machine that produces low-cost sanitary pads.
He sold about 1300 machines in the 27 states and is now also exporting the machines to developing countries all over the world.
He is now one of the most well-known social entrepreneurs in India. He was also mentioned in the Times list of 100 most influential people in the world 2014. He has given lectures in IIT Bombay, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and even at Harvard. He also made a TED Talk. His machine also brought him the National Invention Award. He was also awarded the Padma Shri in 2016.
He is now the successful head of the Jayashree Industries that has 2003 units across India. This venture also created a living for almost 21,000 women who are working in it.
The Padman – Movie
Earlier Twinkle Khanna had written his story in her book The Legend Of Lakshmi Prasad and now this inspirational story of Arunachalam Muruganantham who struggled a lot to bring out a machine that produces low-cost sanitary napkins is going to be on the silver screen. Akshay Kumar is enacting the role of Arunachalam Muruganantham in the film padman. This Sonak Kapoor and Akshay Kumar starrer film is one of the most awaited films of 2018 and the film is set to release on February 9, 2018. Twinkle Khanna is producing this film. Here is the trailer of the movie.