A superhero isn't always the person with super-powers, it can simply be a person who takes the initiative to change the world for better, and to create a society which is safer and healthier. I know of just the perfect individual who can be termed as the Indian superhero.
We're talking about Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man who aspired to bring change in the way people think about menstruation in India.
Menstruation is considered a taboo and is not often talked about, or simply just neglected. However, this man from the town of Coimbatore decided to stand against all odds and fight for the betterment of our society.
Dropped out of school at just the age of 14, Arunachalam worked his way up doing various jobs as a farm labourer, welder, machine operator, etc to earn his livelihood.
In 2014, he was featured in Time Magazine's Most Influential People in the world list. His life story is truly gonna leave you with inspiration, here are the things you must know about the real-life Indian superhero:
It all started when he saw his wife using a nasty cloth as a replacement for a sanitary napkin - which he would not even consider using to clean his scooter. His wife had told him if she were to buy a sanitary pad, they would have to compromise on their family's milk budget. Troubled by this, he started designing several experimental cotton pads.
He kept on experimenting with the designs and the materials but needed a woman volunteer. Even his wife and sisters were not ready to support him in his research. Later, he tried to use medical college girls who also refused. Finally, he had to wear the sanitary pad himself to know how a woman feels during those five days of periods.
He almost got a divorce notice from his wife because she thought he was using the medical college girls for his research as a trump card to run behind them. It took him two years to discover that the high-quality pads contain cellulose fibers derived from the pine-bark wood pulp, which helps in absorbing while retaining the shape.
Being committed to inventing a low-cost sanitary pad, he also devised machines to produce the same, which took him four years. He also claims that he never did any of this for money, but to create social awareness and impact for women who still were managing their periods by using rag cloth, plant leaf, husk, dust, and even ashes.
He has now set up 706 machines in 23 different states in India and has employed over 7000 women so far. His vision is to make India a 100% sanitary napkin using country from the levels as low as 5% in the rural areas. He terms this as the Silent "Second White Revolution."
He has also been awarded the Padma Shri in the year 2016 by the former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. It is no doubt that great people exist who dare to change the world for the greater good. Arunachalam Muruganantham has also been the subject of the story of a prize-winning documentary named 'Menstrual Man'.
And now you can watch a film based just on his story. PadMan is set to release on January the 26th.