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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

google celebrates Dr Muthulakshmi with a doodle !

Did you ‘google’ today or at least opened the browser in Google chrome – sure you would not have missed out this doodle on this famous person of Tamil Nadu .. .. there are people like her who are to be celebrated as ‘revolutionary leaders !’ .. ..

~ and there is some Triplicane connection as well. Triplicane houses century old specialty hospital for women famously known as ‘Gosha Hospital’ -  now  named after Kasturba Gandhi,  the wife of Gandhiji.  One needs to go back to the history of the Nation, the State and of the locality to understand the significance of this hospital. 

The history of the hospital records that the idea to start a hospital entirely for women who were unwilling to go to hospital run by men germinated in 1885 - under the presidency of Her Excellency Lady Grant Dufferin along with eminent persons of yore like Kasturi Bashyam Iyengar, Diwan Bahadur R.Raghunatha Rao C S I, Raja of Vizianagaram, Justice Muthuswamy Iyer, Raja of Venkatgiri and Raja Sri Savalai Ramaswamy Mudaliar.  It was named after Her Majesty Queen Victoria Hospital  and was  first located at Moore’s Garden, Nungambakkam.  Madras government donated a site at Chepauk in the year 1890 and also donated a sum of Rs.10,000/- along with a year’s supply of medicines. The main building was constructed with the donation of Rs.1 Lakh by The Raja of Venkatgiri. The hospital moved to its current place in June 1890.  The Madras Government took over the management of this hospital in April 1921.

Today's Google Doodle celebrates Indian educator, lawmaker, surgeon, and reformer Dr Muthulakshmi Reddi. Constantly breaking down barriers throughout her life, Dr Reddi devoted herself to public health and the battle against gender inequality, transforming the lives of countless young girls. Born on this day in 1883 in Tamil Nadu, Dr Reddi became the first woman to work as a surgeon in a government hospital and the first female legislator in the history of British India.

As a young girl, Dr Reddi opposed her parents' plan for an early arranged marriage, convincing them that she deserved an education. She attended the Maharaja College in Tamil Nadu, formerly an all-boys school. She graduated from the college with distinction and went on to become the first woman student at Madras Medical College. Dr Reddi later gave up her medical career to join the Madras Legislative Council, where she worked to raise the legal age of marriage and fought against the exploitation of girls.

In 1914, she married a doctor named Sundara Reddi. Working for the upliftment of women and battling gender inequality, she supported Mahatma Gandhi's efforts for India's independence. After losing her sister to cancer, she launched the Adayar Cancer Institute in Chennai in 1954. One of the most respected oncology centers in the world, it treats over 80,000 patients every year.

In recognition of her service to her country, Dr Reddi was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1956.  The Tamil Nadu government Monday announced 'Hospital Day' celebrations to be held every year on July 30, the birth anniversary of one of the country's prominent successful woman doctors in the early 20th century and the State's first woman legislator Muthulakshmi Reddy. A statement issued by the health ministry said doctors, nurses and other employees of government hospitals and primary health centres would be able to showcase their activities, new initiatives and achievements as part of the celebrations. "Funds have been allocated to every hospital," it said.

Muthulakshmi went to England for higher studies and she gave up her rewarding practice in medicine in response to a request from the Women's Indian Association (WIA) to enter the Madras Legislative Council. She was elected unanimously as its deputy president. She led the agitation for municipal and legislative franchise for women. She was concerned about the orphans, especially girls. She arranged for them free boarding and lodging and started the Avvai Home in Chennai.  She  was the author of numerous social reforms. Her book My Experience as a Legislator records her service. She passed a resolution to establish a special hospital for women and children. The government accepted her suggestion and opened a children's section in the maternity hospital. She recommended systematic medical inspection of students in all schools and colleges, run by municipalities as well as other local bodies. Kasturba Hospital at Triplicane is a monument to her efforts.

During her address at the Centenary celebration of 1935, she declared her desire to start a hospital for cancer patients. With the overwhelming support of like-minded people, the foundation stone for Adyar Cancer Institute was laid by Sakthi Hari Haran in 1952. The hospital, which started functioning on 18 June 1954, was only the second of its kind in India. It is today a world-renowned institution offering treatment to nearly 80,000 cancer patients every year.

We remember Dr Muthulakshmi today

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th July 2019.

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