The government of Tamil Nadu announced on Monday (29th July) that “Hospital Day” will be observed every year on 30th July in honour of one of the country’s prominent successful woman doctors in the early 20th century and the State’s first woman legislator, Muthulakshmi Reddy on her birth anniversary. So here we are, to tell you her inspiring tale. Read on;
Muthulakshmi Reddy was born in 1886 in Madras. She was quite an intelligent student in school as she was an avid learner who had the ability to grasp things quickly.
Only after the Raja of Pudukottai stepped in that college, was she granted admission in an all men’s medical college which was a huge deal.
It’s quite clear that Muthulakshmi broke all sterotypes and aimed for the stars at a time when women were not considered equal to men.
However, this was only the beginning for Muthulakshmi. After her graduation from her hometown, she took admission into Madras Medical College in 1907.
From winning the unique distinction of becoming the first woman medical graduate in India in 1912 to becoming the first woman House Surgeon in the Government Maternity and Ophthalmic Hospital, Madras, she conquered it all like a true boss lady.
She was elected for the post of Vice-President, making her the first Indian woman member of a Legislative Council. After this there was no looking back for Muthulakshmi.
You see, after her entry into politics, she helped in raising the minimum age for marriage for girls.
Muthulakshmi understood that even after the devadasi system was abolished the deeply-ingrained prejudices against women still existed.
Today, Avvai Home includes an educational complex as well as a teachers’ training institution. The home was primarily started for devasasis but now, its doors are open to all women who need shelter and protection today.
However, she had her own set of battles to fight too. After witnessing the painful and untimely death of her sister due to cancer, Muthulakshmi was heart broken so she decided to open up a specialized cancer hospital.
In 1954, her dream of opening a Cancer Institute finally came true. It was the second specialized cancer centre in India and the first in South India at the time.
In 1956, she was awarded the Padma Bhusan for her social work. She died on 22nd July 1968 at the age of 81.
After all these years, she still remains in our heart. So, let history never forget Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy.