Muthulakshmi Reddy: A Trailblazer in Surgery and Women’s Rights

Paper Type: Book Print Paper | Size: 190mm x 130mm; 204pp
Black and white,1 photographs
ISBN-13: 978-93-91125-67-7


Muthulakshmi Reddy—A Trailblazer in Surgery and Women’s Rights is the story of a pioneer path-creator for women. She was the first girl student in Maharaja’s School for Boys in Pudukkottai, the first Indian woman surgeon from Madras Medical College, the first Indian member of the Women’s Indian Association, the first woman member of legislature of Madras Presidency, the first woman deputy speaker and the first alderwoman. 

In this book the author describes the indomitable spirit of a woman who campaigned to get rid of the practice of wet nurses, fought for girls’ education and widow remarriage, equal property rights for women, education reform, and rural healthcare for women. She took up the case of getting the practice of dedicating young girls as Devadasis, abolished. 

This monograph describes how Dr Reddy established Avvai Home for poor and destitute girls, from where thousands have graduated and found their feet. Thereafter, following a successful career as a specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics, she founded the Cancer Institute in Adyar, Chennai, which has grown to be an iconic hospital for cancer treatment throughout Asia.


1. A story that had to be told the way the author has done — simple, straight, informative, inspiring and just the right size. All libraries ought to get this — so too, all educational institutions. - Narayani Ganesh 

2. This book is a must-read. Just under 200 pages, it is well researched and rich in detail. The religious orthodoxy, social customs, the condition of women and the girl child at the turn of the 20th century, the colonial experience are all part of the context. I felt immense awe and admiration for this woman, not just for the many firsts and distinctions that came her way, but for her dogged fighting spirit, her humanity, resilience to end the devadasi system…the list is long - K.S.Narendran

VR  Devika
VR Devika

VR Devika is a well-known story teller, educationist and Gandhi scholar, with a PhD on MK Gandhi’s communication strategies. She is known as a cultural activist, having been associated with the inception of Chennai’s Dakshinachitra Heritage Museum and Tamil Nadu INTACH. Trained in Bharatanatyam, she lectures on dance and cultural heritage. 

Winner of several awards, Devika contributes frequently to leading publications in India and abroad. She is the founder trustee of The AseemaTrust linking traditional performing arts and education, to bring Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence to children.