PadMan: The women’s man

Rakhshinda Shakir
Posted March 5, 2018 from Pakistan
We women bring to the rest of the world life. (1/1)


Padman is Akshy Kumar’s latest movie based on the life of a real life superhero ArunachalamMuruganantham, an Indian school-dropout, who invented low-cost machines to manufacture sanitary napkins for women. The idea emerged when Muruganantham discovered that his wife used old rags during her periods. His empathy to provide his wife with safe hygienic pads made him prepare cotton pads. He tested his pads on his wife and even on himself with animal blood in a bottle which could squeeze blood on to the pad in regular intervals. His neighbors called him the ‘pervert’ and his wife left him so that he could come to his senses. It took him to two years to discover the exact material to manufacture good quality pads and additional four year how to process it.

Muruganantham found out that women in India used unhygienic things such as old rags, newspapers, sand, leaves and even ash during their periods, leading to many serious infectious diseases such as cervical cancer. While only 12% of Indian women used pads while on periods and Muruganantham wanted to change it. The imported pad-machines cost as high as $5,00,000, so, he decided to create low-cost and easy-to-use machine. His rigorous research eventually succeeded in inventing a low-cost machine which costs just $950.

Instead of selling his machine to highest bidder, Muruganantham supplies his machines to rural communities. So far, he has sold 1300 of his machines to women who manufacture their own low-cost pads and sell the surplus. Thus, lots of rural Indian women have jobs besides access to hygienic pads. Muruganantham’s empathic invention has sparked interest around the world. 27 states in India have been supplied with low-cost machines while recently Muruganantham is exporting his machines to third world countries. Muruganantham-the son of a weaver- proved that ‘empathy is the most revolutionary emotion’. Time Magzine put him in the list of 100 most influential people.

PadMan is the latest Indian movie bases on the life of this real-life superhero. The movie is aimed to be ‘menstrual awareness’ for societies where menstruation is a taboo subject. Many villages in India isolate women while on periods barring them from temples, working in kitchen, washing and cleaning etc. This not just undermines women’s status but can have serious impacts on their health as well. Regarding the nature of the subject, Muruganantham’s social entrepreneurship has been appreciated all over the world. The movie PadMan is the first movie to becoming the subject of discussion at Oxford Union. Noble Laureate MalalaYosufzai and Bill Gates appreciated the subject of the movie.

However, it was unfortunate that the censor board in Pakistan banned the movie without watching it on the pretext that it was against ‘our history and culture’. Menstruation in Pakistan is a taboo subject as it is in most Indian villages. Women are very uncomfortable and shy regarding their biological functions. Majority of rural women have no access to hygienic pads or awareness to avoid the diseases which mostly result due to the lack of proper hygiene while on periods. Even those who have access, pads are handed wrapped in plastics or envelops as if it is a shameful thing to use. This irrational and extremely conservative mindset depicts that how harsh our society is for women. Perhaps, dark ages’ ignorance has become the essential part of ‘our culture and history’ which are threatened by movies like PadMan and social entrepreneurs such as Muruganantham, which the members of our censor board will never allow happen. Perhaps, we shall never let our society to be a safe place for our women to live with.






This post was submitted in response to You Are a Silence Breaker..

Comments 12

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Hi Rakshi. How are you doing, hon? Thanks for sharing this movie with us. I hadn't heard of it. I hope they lift the ban in your country, though, so more awareness, acceptance and resources can be available to women there as well. I watched the trailer and was disappointed that the media always has to portray Indians as comical and making fun of the culture there, but at least it's a step in the right direction as far as content and awareness go. This is the trailer I watched, so that others can see it, too:

Mar 05
Mar 05

I know about padman, may God bless him. I pray that Pakistan government will wake up to realize that we left 18th century centuries ago.

Thanks for sharing. 

Thanks Rakshi 

This is a must watch movie. God bless his soul for helping the woman and especially those in rural areas. We pray the Government of Pakistan comes to its senses.  

Stay blessed 

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 05
Mar 05

I have seen a short youtube about Padman and am glad for the news that there is now a film about him. So encouraging that this man has been willing to face scorn to make pads available. Sorry news about Pakistan. I hope the film will have an effect on the silence and shame that still exists over this natural part of life. Thanks for the news!


Sophie Ngassa
Mar 05
Mar 05

Dear Shakir, I never heard this befor. Thanks for sharing this amazing piece.The taboo of menstraution must end!

Mar 06
Mar 06

Thank you so much for sharing this is brilliant especially bringing to light a man so concerned about women's hygiene and comfort I do wish this movie could be seen in all countries by girls and boys women and men
There is an urgent need for menstrual hygiene and comfort world over

Clodine Mbuli Shei
Mar 07
Mar 07

Hello Rakshi,
This is a great piece. It is a must watch movie. I had no idea about the pad man. Am so inspired he is doing much for his community. May this be an eye opener to all across the world

Lily Habesha
Mar 08
Mar 08

Hey Dear,
never heard about Padman, but I pray the ban should soon.

Thank you for the share.


sridevi k
Mar 08
Mar 08

Hey Rakshinda,
Ur write up is amazing.
I did not watch the film, Padman but sure, I've read about Muruganatham in a magazine, I couldnt believe myself that a man could research this taboo subject to an extent of inventing a machine for the benefit of his beloved wife and other ladies,Despite the odds he faced he relentlessly continued his efforts. Its indeed very touching, amazing and brilliant that he has used his willpower to help ladies around him. I have never heard of something so motivating and encouraging ndeed something extraordinaire.God bless him abundantly. I wish to read many more amazing and brave stories from ur end.
Sincerely Sridevii

Wendy Stebbins
Mar 08
Mar 08

Yay, Rak. You are amazing!

Hello, Rakshinda,

What a gentleman PadMan is! Ironic though that his wife left him for inventing something that would be better for her. I would love to watch this movie, if I can find it.

This line struck me, "Empathy is the most revolutionary emotion". I love it! Amazing where his emphathy brought him.

I pray that a PadMan will arise from Pakistan, and in every country who needa to recognize the needs of a woman esp with her menstruation.

Thank you for sharing this inspiring story!

Zafar Ahmad
Mar 14
Mar 14

Thank you, Rakhshi, for this. Indeed, it is too unfortunate that our state banned the movie. I watched it on you tube. This movie is a great contribution of Akshy and his wife after 'Toilet'. ///The world could be better place for women if we men unlearn a bit of our maleness and have some empathy for our wives, mothers, sisters and other women.