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Lady of many firsts, Google Doodle celebrates 133rd birthday of Muthulakshmi Reddi

By Anuj Cariappa
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New Delhi, July 30: Google Doodle celebrated eminent medical practitioner, social reformer and Padma Bhushan awardee, Muthulakhsmi Reddi.

Reddi, India's first female legislator was born on July 30 1866 in Madras. She passed away on July 22 1968.

Muthulakshmi Reddi

She had many firsts to her recognition. She was the first female student to be admitted into a men's college, the first woman house surgeon in the Government Maternity and Ophthalmic Hospital, the first woman legislator in British India, the first Chairperson of the State Social Welfare Advisory Board, the first woman Deputy President of the Legislative Council, and the also the first Alderwoman of the Madras Corporation Avvai Home.

Muthulakshmi was born in Pudukottai, Tamil Nadu and despite the various constraints faced by girls, she competed her higher education and was admitted into the medical profession.

She graduated in 1912 to become one of India's first woman doctors. Her father S Narayanasami was the principal of the Maharaja's College. Her mother, Chandrammal encouraged her daughter to go to school, by breaking all traditions. While her mother wanted to find her a groom, Muthulakshmi had different aspirations. She was against subordination of women.

She later married Dr. Sundara on the demand that he promised to always respect her as an equal and never cross her wishes.

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday announced 'Hospital Day' celebrations to be held every year on July 30 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Muthulakshmi.

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.

The day is also celebrated to publicise services offered by the hospitals besides appreciating NGOs, donors social institutions and corporates offering corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds for development of the hospitals, the statement said.

Reddi who died in 1968, also founded the Adyar Cancer Institute.

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