Absolutely fascinating story about a brave and determined man who risked everything, losing his wife, family and social status along the way, to improve the menstrual hygiene of rural Indian woman.
So many interesting angles to this;
1) 'embarrassment' means that woman do not dry their cloths, so the don't get disinfected, leading to huge rates of reproductive disease. This shows that cultural practices can be bad for our evolutionary interests. People often show the opposite, but do they look for cases where culture harms evolution?
2) He was ostracised by his community. His wife left him when he lost his social status as a result of his 'perverted' project.
3) His wife returned to him when he won a national prize for innovation from the Indian president.
4) His community had tried to 'cure' him (punish him?) by hanging him naked from a tree.
5) He turned down the opportunity to make lots of money from his machine, instead choosing to maximise the availability of his invention to those who needed it most.
6) the above decision has clearly rescued his lost social status.
When Muruganantham looked into it further, he discovered that hardly any women in the surrounding villages used sanitary pads - fewer than one in 10. He was shocked to learn that women don't just use old rags, but other unhygienic substances such as sand, sawdust, leaves and even ash. Women who do use cloths are often too embarrassed to dry them in the sun, which means they don't get disinfected. Approximately 70% of all reproductive diseases in India are caused by poor menstrual hygiene - it can also affect maternal mortality.