The Incredible Story of India’s First Woman Doctor And Legislator – Dr Muthulakshmi Reddi
Google is celebrating Dr Muthulakshmi Reddi and her meritorious achievements on her 133rd birth anniversary with a doodle.
“Reddi was a trailblazer who devoted herself to public health and the battle against gender inequality, transforming the lives of countless people-especially young girls,” Google says.
Born on July 30, 1886, in Pudukottai, Tamil Nadu, Dr Reddi emerged as an eminent medical practitioner and a social reformer. Known as the ‘Wonder Woman Of Madras’, Dr Reddi actively fought for issues, ranging from health care to gender equality all her life.
A Woman Of Many Firsts
As a young girl, Reddi opposed her parents’ plan for early marriage, convincing them she deserved an education. Dr Reddi was the first Indian girl student in the Department of Surgery at Madras Medical College and passed-out as one of the first women doctors in India in 1912 with gold medal for her academic excellence.
Breaking all barriers, she was also the first woman house surgeon in the Government Maternity Hospital, Madras.
India’s First Woman Legislator
She gave up her medical career to become India’s first woman legislator in 1927.
She joined the Madras Legislative Council, where she fought against the exploitation of young girls. She was the first Chairperson of the State Social Welfare Advisory Board.
She raised the minimum age of marriage for girls and helped pass the Immoral Traffic Control Act and Devdasi System Abolishment Bill.
As a women’s activist and social reformer, Dr Reddi co-founded the Women’s Indian Association in 1918, to liberate women from deplorable conditions during the 19th and early 20th century.
Dr Reddi opened several hostels for Muslim girls and also gave out scholarships for Harijan girls.
In 1930, she established the Avvai Home Shelter and educated several girls.
Supporting Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts for Independence, Dr Reddi later resigned from the Council to support the Salt Satyagraha.
Adayar Cancer Insititute
After losing her sister to cancer, she initiated a Cancer Relief Fund in 1954 which later developed into an All-India Institute including therapy and research on cancer. The institute now attracts around 80,000 patients each year from across the country.
Adayar Cancer Institute was declared as the Regional Cancer Centre and ‘Centre of Excellence’ by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 1974.
Adayar Cancer Institute at present is the first medical school in India to offer degrees in various sub-specialities of oncology recognised by the Medical Council of India.
Padmabhushan Dr Reddi
In recognition of Dr Reddi’s service to the country, Dr Reddi was also awarded Padmabhushan in 1965 by the President Of India.
The doodle was created by Archana Sreenivasan, a Bangalore-based guest artist.
“To me, this Doodle is a celebration of the spirit of belief in oneself and others. Maybe this spirit is something we need now more than ever,” Archana explained in a message with the doodle.