This article exploded onto my social network timelines recently - I am sure many of you have seen the article, or something about it. I have to say, I was delighted and cheered by this, a story of - largely - good news, and a real boon for women in India.
For those who have not heard the story, an uneducated Indian chap called Muruganantham got married. He was, as is not uncommon, very unknowledgeable about the ways of women, and discovered that his wife used very unsanitary rags for her period. As a result of this discovery, and the fact that this was very common among the local women, he has developed a device to enable them to make sanitary towels themselves, cheaply and easily.
But there is more than this. This man broke all sorts of social taboos - I am not sure we can really understand how hard this must have been for him. Rather like someone in the West jumping into a coffin at a funeral. That was the level of social etiquette he breached.
He talked to other women about their periods, which was unheard of for anyone, especially a man. He pursued this even after his wife left him. He continued against all the odds, to do something very freeing, very enabling for women.
How important is this? from the article "approximately 70% of all reproductive diseases in India are caused by
poor menstrual hygiene - it can also affect maternal mortality" - this invention can save lives, and definitely save suffering. It can do this without causing women any more embarrassment - which is significant in a society where this is important.
Muruganantham has done something that we can all learn from. He has seen a problem, an issue, something that he can make a difference to. Then, despite all the challenges, all the social stigma, the reality that he became a pariah, an outcast, he continued to work on this, and found a solution. As Christians, we are often stopped from being good people, supporting others, standing up for those who suffer because of what others will say, of how we will be perceived.
He is an example to us all. I feel humbled.