Green and white revolution is what everyone knows about, but a recent revolution that has brought a drastic change concerning the health of women in rural as well as urban area across the country can be called as the Red revolution. This revolution mainly targeted menstrual hygiene by reducing the cost the manufacturing cost of sanitary pads and thus reducing the cost of the sanitary napkins.

In India, in most of the rural and some of the urban area, many women did not have access to sanitary pads due to the cost factor where food for the family was a higher priority than sanitary napkins for women. Because of this, women were forced to search for an alternative, and they landed up using cloth, rags, old newspaper, sand that readily lead to infections and bad genital Care and ultimately the health.

Arunachalam Muruganantham The Real PadMan of India

Arunachalam Muruganantham at the Time 100 gala, in New York on April 29, 2014. Photo: Reuters

This problem was noticed by an innovator, entrepreneur, and believer when he saw his wife using rags during her menstrual cycle. He noticed that this issue was very serious and was determined to solve this problem. The social entrepreneur is at the centre of this red revolution.

Arunachalam Muruganantham had absolutely no knowledge about all of this, but he was determined.

Maybe this is what defines an entrepreneur, a person who is so determined and restless to solve a problem that actually is a problem to others. This marks the journey of the period prior to the red revolution. Arunachalam Muruganantham a.k.a. Pad Man had never seen a sanitary pad in his entire life. But he knew that, if anything has to be done regarding, he had to do something that would affect the cost factor.

In this due course, he realized that this problem is not only bounded to India, but women in all developing countries face this type of problem. Look at the thought process of the school dropout that made him a dude in the world.

Pad Man's Wife Shanthi

Arunachalam Muruganantham with wife, Shanthi. Picture courtesy: Pinterest

Arunachalam Muruganantham was 29 when he started to work on this project. He went to the medical and bought a pack of sanitary pads. Seeing the thing for the very first time in his life, he was observing the pad and was surprised. Know he wanted to know, of what materials are these sanitary pads are made up of? But how! He sent the sanitary pads to the laboratory, which confirmed that the material was cotton.

He started designing using the same cotton material, but his design and created was rejected 2-3 times. In the meantime, this journey was getting difficult. The society never fails a chance to keep you downtrodden. Arunachalam was on the verge of losing his family and his place and pride in the society. But he proudly says that the two things that never made him quit were his determination to solve this problem and the other being his sense of humour. He kept going.

2 years went, and still, he was on guessing the material used. He used to write to big companies with the help of a college professor. But nothing comes for free; he had to work at the professor’s home to make up for his support. Somehow, with the broken English, he managed to get some more details. Cellulose, from the bark of the tree, was used to make pads. Now the next problem is to convert the cellulose to the sanitary pads.

Padman with his low-cost Sanitary pad machine

Arunachalam Muruganantham working on his low-cost sanitary pads machine. Picture courtesy: Twitter/@literallymobile

These machines were too costly, so he had to design his own units. He decides to keep the machinery really simple so that anyone could learn it as quickly as possible, which will eventually help in creating employment opportunities for the rural area women. The thinking ability of the person is what made the structured revolution to happen. Four years of hard work and finally, he had made a machine, and any person could understand its operation in an hour or so.

This model was made up of wood; the sanitary napkins produced were of good quality at a comparatively lower cost! But what bothered scientist was the competition with the multinational companies. Arunachalam had great confidence in him and started developing more number of models and very installed in various parts of the country, giving the machine to a producer, where the producer was free to choose any name for the pads.

There were training sessions held, were Arunachalam installed many machines and made women understand about the working.

Arunachalam is one of the top 100 influentials in the world alongside Mr. Barack Obama. Now he gives talks at various colleges, events and inspires others to innovate and help the society. This is an example of what determination can do!  A school dropout showed the way to the world, how to become a Dude.

He dropped out of school at the age of 14. He worked as a farm labourer, welder to earn his meals there on. In 2014, he was one of Time magazine’s Most Influential People in the World. In 2016, he was awarded the Padma Shri. In 2017, Akshay Kumar and R Balki are making a movie on him.

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