Google doodle celebrates Muthulakshmi Reddi, India's first woman legislator

She launched the Adayar Cancer Institute in 1954, one of the most respected oncology centers in the world.

Google has dedicated today's doodle to Dr Muthulakshmi Reddi who would have been 133 years old today. Reddi is celebrated as the first woman legislator in the country, the first female student admitted to prestigious Indian institutions like Maharaja College and the Madras Medical College, and the first woman to work as a surgeon in a government hospital. In fact, on Monday the Tamil Nadu government announced that ever year here on, 30 July will be celebrated as the 'Hospital Day' in the state.

Born on 30 July 1883 in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Reddi devoted herself to public health and the battle against gender inequality, transforming the lives of countless people — especially young girls.

Google doodle celebrates Muthulakshmi Reddi, Indias first woman legislator

Muthulakshmi Reddi's Google Doodle is illustrated by Bangalore-based artist Archana Sreenivasan. Image: Google

As a little girl herself, Reddi was pressured by her parents to marry early, but she resisted and convinced them that she deserved an education. She won scholarships, graduated with honors, and went on to be the first female student at Madras Medical College.

Google writes in its blog, "After losing a sister to cancer, she launched the Adayar Cancer Institute in 1954. One of the most respected oncology centers in the world, it treats some 80,000 patients each year. In recognition of her service to her country, in 1956, Reddi was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India."

However, by this time, she had given up her medical practice to join the Madras Legislative Council, where she worked to raise the legal age of marriage and combatted exploitation of girls. Working for the upliftment of women and battling gender inequality, she supported Gandhi’s efforts for Indian independence.

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