Mumbai: Google is celebrating the 133rd birth anniversary of Muthulakshmi Reddi, India’s first woman legislator through a creative doodle. The doodle was illustrated by Bengaluru-based artist Archana Sreenivasan. Apart from being a legislator, Reddi was a surgeon, educator, lawmaker and social reformer. Born in 1886 in Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu Mutthulakshmi had many “firsts” in hee name to her recognition.
Google in its tribute to Reddi wrote, “Constantly breaking down barriers throughout her life, Reddi was a trailblazer who devoted herself to public health and the battle against gender inequality, transforming the lives of countless people—especially young girls.”
Besides being the first woman legislator in India, she was known as an eminent medical practitioner and a social reformer. She devoted her life to public health and is known for devoting his life to work against social and gender-based inequality. Her work towards women includes fighting for women’s rights; wanting to raise the legal age of marriage, and putting an end to the exploitation of girls. She was actively involved with setting up of several toilets and women’s toilets and initiated measures to improve the medical facilities given to slum dwellers. Also, she was one of the women pioneers who stood for the cause of liberating India from the British.
Being the first Indian girl student in the Department of Surgery at Madras Medical College, she was also appointed to the Madras Legislative Council in 1927. For her, this nomination marked the beginning of her lifelong effort to “correct the balance” for women by removing social abuses and working for equality in moral standards.
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 first Alderwoman of the Madras Corporation Avvai Home.
She was nominated by Sakthi Hari Haran to the Madras Legislature as a member of the legislative council in 1926 and became the first woman to be a member of any legislature in India. When she was elected as the deputy chairperson of the legislative council, she became the first woman in the world to become the vice president of a legislature.
Muthulakshmi Reddi has been awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.