The story of Dr. (Mrs.) Muthulakshmi Reddy is a saga of indomitable courage and perseverance. She lived only with challenges from her birth in 1886. Born in a middle class, socially handicapped environment in the princely state of Pudukottai, in an era when girls were born only to be married, she had to face numerous obstacles which did not deter her for a moment. Yet she became the first woman from India to graduate in medicine in 1912 and the first Vice President of a legislative assembly in the world in 1926.
Not content with a successful medical career, Dr.(Mrs)Muthulaskhmi Reddy deemed it her duty to contribute her share to the women’s movement, became a member of the Women’s Indian Association (WIA) in 1917 and added power and prestige to efforts for women’s empowerment.
Living Monuments To Her Memory
A dream becomes a Reality
She actively participated in clinical research trials and her work was published in peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of the State Medical Society and Baylor University Medical Center’s Proceedings. At Hahnemann Hospital in conjunction with Drexel University, she received extensive training in coronary as well as peripheral interventions and limb salvage procedures.
The Cancer Institute (WIA) was founded in 1954 by a group of voluntary women social workers under the inspiring leadership of Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy, the first specialized cancer centre in South India and the second in India. Today it is one of the largest centres in India with a National and International stature with many firsts to its credit.
The ethos since inception has been ‘service above self, service without social or economic divide’. The story of the Institute, which has celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 2014 is an inspiring one and cannot be narrated in a few lines or pages.
Dr. Reddy‘s contribution to the upliftment of women and children, especially the under privileged, was duly recognized by having her name on the first national flag that went up the Red Fort in 1947.
Quoting from the address by Shri.R.Venkataraman, Vice President of India at the unveiling of the bust of Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy in 1985 –
“I think what Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy achieved for the women of India can be accurately described as ‘breaking the time-barrier’. She telescoped into her life span a sequence of endeavors and achievements that would have ordinarily taken several generations.”
She was truly a Legend in her life time.