I love India

It’s the largest democracy in the world, and gave us folks like Gandhi, Mira Nair, Vijay Amritraj and V.S. Naipul.

Vijay Amritraj

Aaand Aishwarya Rai.

Oh and countless PhDs, MDs, patent holders and uber-smart people. You know the types — the Bell Curve demolishers, National Spelling Bee winners, valedictorians, film directors, artists — I could go on and on but that would be a big bowl of dull. Of course there are felons and real dumb politicos. It’s not unusual for the good, the bad and the ugly to come out of India considering it’s the second largest country — population-wise — on Earth. What’s even better is the 24/7 news cycle that craves all sorts o’ stories from the farthest corners of the this planet.

Those of us who are news junkies — especially odd news — love India. So much weird shit comes out of there it’s tough to keep up.

For instance — here’s a great story for you. It is sure to warm the deep, dark crevasses of your soul. How do I know this to be true? It worked on mine.

From The Independent. Edited for, well, everything.

The ‘Tampon King’ who sparked a period of change for India’s women

Well played, copy editor, well played.

“When Arunachalam Muruganantham spotted his wife gathering dirty rags in their home one day he asked her what they were for. If he was shocked by her reluctant response – that she was using them for her monthly period – he was even more taken back by her reply when he asked why she was not buying sanitary napkins in the shop. “If I buy sanitary napkins,” she had told him. “It means I cannot afford to buy milk for the family.”

First, I’m not going to do the obvious ‘on the rag’ joke here. You’re welcome.

But what disturbs me is how a gal in India — the land of one of the fastest rising middle classes in the world — has to choose between buying milk and maxipads. It boggles my first world, well-educated, WASP senses so much so that I can’t imagine having to choose between nourishment and cotton donkeys. *shudder*

“The conversation spurred Mr Muruganantham into a frenzy of invention to try and produce an affordable napkin for women such as his wife. Such was his dedication, bordering on obsession, that he once wore a football bladder of animal blood to trial a prototype. He was forced from his home by villagers who thought his methods had become too perverse after he started collecting used napkins from medical students and storing them in his home. He was even abandoned – albeit temporarily – by his wife and mother, who believed he had gone mad.”

How does one wear a football bladder? What the crap is a football bladder? Why use animal blood–why? His obsession reminds me of the guy who invented intermittent windshield wipers. You know who I’m talking about — Greg Kinnear starred in a dull movie about him. Remember? Nope, I don’t either.

“But 14 years later, the 49-year-old, who never finished school, has few regrets. His award-winning napkins are being produced on simple machines by groups across rural India and helping to revolutionise women’s health.”

What’s great about this guy is he’s busting his ass to help the women of not only his country, but in other 3rd world countries as well. What I — and countless other American women — view as a basic need is being introduced into Indian culture as a new, basic need. Once Muruganantham dove deeper into solving this sanitary issue, he realized that there’s much more to women’s health than just tampons and maxipads. As a result of this epiphany, Muruganantham took it upon himself to teach the women in his village, as well as the surrounding villages, how to take care of themselves and their families. He started by holding workshops and from there, others took the reins and started reaching out to other villages to share their knowledge.

Bravo to them all.

One thought on “I love India

  1. This certainly was far from a big bowl of dull, but I think there must have been more than a little fetishism in his quest. I wonder what he’s working on now? Or maybe I don’t want to know.

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