The true story of India’s Padman: The Social Entrepreneur

We’ve all heard stories of Superman, Spiderman, Batman, etc but the story of Padman inspires us the most. Superheroes are many, but Padman is one of a kind. Here’s what he did to become what he is today!

1. Early Life

It is the story of a school drop-out from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu – Arunachalam Muruganantham who saw his wife using dirty unhygienic rags during her menstrual cycle because the family couldn’t afford high end sanitary napkins available in the market.

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2. Beginning of a new mission

Since that day, Arunachalam decided that he wants to start manufacturing and providing low-cost sanitary napkins to poor women across rural India.

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3. Experiments and experiments

He produced and experimented with cotton napkins on his wife and sisters and also approached a few female medical students a lot of times, who also refused to wear it after few attempts.

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4. When he wore a sanitary pad

Arunachalam then started to wear the sanitary pads himself along with a bottle filled with animal blood, which would squeeze out the blood on the pad at regular intervals.

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5. His first success

After facing failure for 2 years, he finally succeeded in making a low cost cotton pad in a machine that costed him less than one third the cost of pads manufactured by MNCs. Since then, he has installed that machine in 23 states in India. This machine also created jobs for women in rural India.

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6. ….. and the reward followed

He has been awarded The National Innovation Foundation’s Grassroots Technological Innovations Award in 2006 at IIT Madras. In 2014, Arunachalam was named in ‘100 Most Influential People In The World’ by TIME magazine and in 2016 he was awarded ‘Padma Shri’ by Government Of India.

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7. Where is he now?

He is a known face in TEDx talks and a renowned guest lecturer at IITs and IIMs. He is also seen attending conferences with Bill Gates and James Cameron now. Also watch his TED video here:

8. The Bollywood connection

After learning about him, Twinkle Khanna wrote about Arunachalam in her book ‘The Legend Of Lakshmi Prasad‘. Twinkle was so inspired by his story that she decided on producing a Bollywood film on it along with R Balki. Arunachalam’s role will be played out on the silver screen by Akshay Kumar in a film called ‘Padman’. The release date of Padman is 9th February, 2018.

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