A Salute To An Indian Brand-Arunachalam Muruganantham

Why should an individual choose to spend his unforeseeable life to boost the sanitary napkin usage in India? Strange and preposterous, right? I was inside that bubble until I came across startling facts about Indian women and their plummeted bond with the sanitary napkin market in the country. To start with some woeful facts, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women. India tops the world in the number of cervical cancer deaths. Every year, over 1, 32,000 women get affected by cancer, of which over 72,000 lose their battle with it, according to the Cervical Cancer-Free Coalition. One of the reasons for cervical cancer is the lack of hygiene and usage of harmful alternatives to sanitary napkin (the vital reason it being not affordable for many women).

woman's day

Present consumption of sanitary napkins in India is only 12.5% whereas in U.S, U.K and Europe, it falls between 75-90%. And these devastating facts seemed compelling enough for a middle class individual to take the responsibility of making India a 100% sanitary napkin using country. Arunachalam Muruganantham, an individual who busted my cryptic bubble and more importantly, revolutionized the model of affordable sanitary napkins, is the ‘David of the hour’.

Muruganantham

Flabbergasted by the fact that his wife uses a rugged cloth instead of sanitary napkin during her menstrual days, he could not fathom the reason the giants continue to sell such a basic necessity at a price that disturbs the grocery budget of middle income Indian families. He decided to take the help of women he knew including his wife; sisters and college students, Resentment from the ladies made him the first man in the world to wear a sanitary napkin, as part of an experiment. He said “those were the worst days of my life” and consequently saluted all the ladies on the planet. Years of research by led to his invention of a machine that helps rural women to make sanitary napkins by themselves. He could have used his invention in earning a handsome sum of money; instead he gives his machines to small organizations in the rural areas free of charge.

If Arunachalam can do his bit for the community, the rationale behind our deep-rooted dependence on the infiltration of the MNCs and NGOs to do their bit, by many reasons, is unjustified. Simply acknowledging and honouring women for making strides or breaking glass ceilings is not enough. We got to work to mend the unnoticed yet vital defects, like in this context, moulding India into a 100% sanitary napkin using country. This Women’s Day, let us promise ourselves to get more involved, stay focused and uplift women in all respects.

Author: Payal Rochwani

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4 comments

  1. yeh it very serious thing in our society . this happened due to unawareness of new disease so we should spread awareness for this and encourage them to use sanitary napkin.

    1. Truly said. But, even if they are aware of the diseases, they cannot afford the expensive sanitary napkins offered by the big giants in India. More n more models of producing cheap sanitary napkins are needed in India.

  2. Hats off to Murugantham. I had invited him for a talk to our Institute and the whole audience were shocked to hear his narration about the circumstances in which he created this machine. All respect to him to take up such a cause and creating an affordable solution around it. He is so humble yet, shows great passion and empathy towards the plight of these poor women. Glad to know that his work is getting recognized more and more. Such social entrepreneurs are the need of the hour.

    1. Absolutely! Its amazing to see that a person, just for the betterment of women, spends his whole life experimenting on how he can produce affordable napkins, not expecting a penny in return.

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