Contribution of Women Leaders from Tamilnadu for Social Reformation
Reformation refers to abolition of some social practices which are deep rooted in the society for centuries. These practices are of great interruption to the development of the country. To achieve this not only men women also have involved a lot. Among the women reformer some of them are worth mentioning. They are Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy and Dr.s.Dharmambal.
Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy
Tamilnadu was the forerunner in the transformation of society. In the great cultured heritage of Tamilnadu there are some black spots often found and removed. One such a black spot was 'Devadasi' system. One of the important leaders who fought vigorously against this system was Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy.
Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy was born on 30th July, 1886 in Pudukottai. She was first women in India to get a degree in medicine. In 1923 her sister died in Cancer. On that day she took a vow to destroy cancer. So she started cancer Relief Hospital in 1949. The cancer Institute at Adayar was started due to her good efforts. Our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation for that Institute. She was not only interested in medicine but also in politics and social reforms. she dedicated herself to the cause of removing the cruel practice Devadasi system from Tamilnadu.
She was personally praised by Gandhiji for her active propaganda against Devasasi system. Appreciating her role in the agitation against Devadasi system she was nominated to the Tamilnadu Legislative Council 1929. As a result the Justice party Government enacted a law abolishing Devadasi system. In 1930, she organized All India Women Conference at Pune. She was the President of Indian Women Association from 1933 to 1947. She also started Avvai Illam an Orphanage at Santhome in Madras(now at Adayar). Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy, through her dedicated and tireless work proved the world, hardwork never fails. She passed away in 1968 at the age of 82.
Many people became famous not because of wealth, power, education and status but because of their dedication. One such a reformer who proved that service could be done through humanity and goodwill was Dr.S.Dharmambal. She had the insist of social service, she studied Siddha medicine and started a hospital in Chennai. Later she entered into the public service. Dr.S.Dharmambal was born at Karun thattankudi near Thanjavur. As she was very much influenced by the ideas of Periyar, she showed great interest in implementing widow remarriage, inter cast marriage and women education.
She had also great interest in the development of Tamil literature and Tamil Music. She participated in the Hindi agitation pregramme and went to Jail many times. Till 1940 the Tamil teachers had no due recognition in the society. They were not pais equal salary like other reachers. So she started an agitation called 'Elavu Varam'. As a result the Educational Minister Thiru.Avinasalingam Chettiar announced equal pay to Tamil teachers like other teachers.
To make the students improve their knowledge in Tamil and to score good marks in Tamil "Chennai Manavar Mandram" was established. She was President of this association for more than 10years. Appreciating her service to Tamil language and literature she was conferred the title "Veera Tamilannai".
She gave the title "Periyar" to E.V.Ramasamy Naicker and "Ealisai Mannar" to Thiyagaraja Bagavathar.
The great women who sacrificed and dedicated her whole life for the Tamil people. Tamil language and Tamil literature was died in 1959 at the age of 69.