TNPSC Thervupettagam

Famous Women Leaders for Social Reformation in Tamil Nadu

October 5 , 2019 1723 days 118399 0
  • In Tamil Nadu many freedom fighters played a vital role in the struggle for freedom in India.
  • In those days, women have contributed a lot in Social Reformation.
  • This resource will provide you an information about women leaders from Tamil Nadu who fought for freedom in India.
Contribution of Women Leaders from Tamil Nadu
  • Reformation refers to abolition of some social practices which are deep rooted in the society for centuries.
  • These practices are of great interruption to the development of the country.
  • In order to achieve reformations, not only men but also women have contributed a lot.
  • Among the women reformer some of them are worth mentioning.
  • They are Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy Dr. S. Dharmambal and Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar.

Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy (1886-1968)

  • Tamil Nadu was the forerunner in the transformation of society.
  • In the great cultured heritage of Tamil Nadu there are some black spots often found and removed.
  • One such a black spot was 'Devadasi' system.
  • One of the important leaders who fought vigorously against this system was Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy.
  • Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy was born on 30th July, 1886 in Pudukkottai.
  • She was the first women in India to get a degree in medicine.
  • In 1923 her sister died in Cancer. On that day she took a vow to destroy cancer. So, she started cancer Relief Hospital in 1949.
  • The cancer Institute at Adayar in Chennai was started due to her good efforts.
  • Our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation for that Institute.
  • She was not only interested in medicine but also in politics and social reforms.
  • she dedicated herself to the cause of removing the cruel practice Devadasi system from Tamil Nadu.
  • She was personally praised by Gandhiji for her active propaganda against Devadasi system.
  • Appreciating her role in the agitation against Devadasi system she was nominated to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council 1927.
  • As a result, the Madras Government enacted a law abolishing Devadasi system in 1947 under the Congress Government led by O. P. Ramaswamy Reddiyar.
  • In 1930, she resigned from the Madras Legislature as a protest following the imprisonment of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • In 1930, she organized All India Women Conference at Pune.
  • She was the Founder President of Indian Women Association from 1933 to 1947.
  • She also started Avvai Illam an Orphanage at Santhome in Madras (now at Adayar).
  • Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy, through her dedicated and tireless work proved the world, hard work never fails.
  • She passed away in 1968 at the age of 82.
  • She had a number of firsts to her name
    • First female student to be admitted into a men's college, Maharaja’s College.
    • First and the only woman candidate in the Madras Medical College 1907.
    • First woman House Surgeon in the Government Maternity and Ophthalmic Hospital.
    • First woman Legislator in British India.
    • First Chairperson of the State Social Welfare Advisory Board in 1954.
    • First woman Deputy President of the Legislative Council.
    • First Alderwoman of the Madras Corporation in 1937.


Dr. S. Dharmambal (1890-1959)

  • Many people became famous not because of wealth, power, education and status but because of their dedication.
  • One such a reformer who proved that service could be done through humanity and goodwill was Dr. S. Dharmambal.
  • She had the insist of social service, she studied Siddha medicine and started a hospital in Chennai.
  • Later she entered into the public service.
  • Dr. S. Dharmambal was born at Karunthattankudi near Thanjavur.
  • As she was very much influenced by the ideas of Periyar, she showed great interest in implementing widow remarriage, inter cast marriage and women education.
  • She had also great interest in the development of Tamil literature and Tamil Music.
  • She participated in the Hindi agitation programme (1937-40) and went to Jail many times.
  • Till 1940 the Tamil teachers had no due recognition in the society. They were not paid equal salary like other teachers. So, she started an agitation called 'Elavu Varam'.
  • As a result, the Educational Minister Thiru. Avinasalingam Chettiar announced equal pay to Tamil teachers like other teachers.
  • To make the students improve their knowledge in Tamil and to score good marks in Tamil "Chennai Manavar Mandram" was established.
  • She was President of this association for more than 10 years.
  • Appreciating her service to Tamil language and literature she was conferred the title "Veera Tamilannai" in 1951.
  • She was one of the organisers of the 1938 conference of the Progressive Women's Association, which bestowed the title of Periyar on E. V. Ramasamy.
  • She also gave the title of "Ealisai Mannar" to Thiyagaraja Bagavathar.
  • The great women who sacrificed and dedicated her whole life for the Tamil people. Tamil language and Tamil literature was died in 1959 at the age of 69.

Moovalur Ramamirtham (1883–1962)

  • She was a Tamil social reformer, author, and political activist of the Dravidian Movement, who worked for the abolition of the Devadasi system in the Madras Presidency.
  • She was born in Thiruvarur, and was brought up at Moovalur a village near Mayiladuthurai. Hence, she was called commonly known as Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar.
  • She was the author of the 1936 novel Dasigalin Mosavalai alladhu madhi pettra minor (lit. Devadasis' web of deceit or the minor grown wise) which exposed the plight of the devadasis. 
  • Originally a supporter of the nationalist Indian National Congress, she became a member of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy's Self-Respect Movement after Periyar left the Congress in 1925.
  • In 1930, she supported Muthulakshmi Reddy's failed attempt to abolish the Devadasi system in the Presidency through legislation.
  • She took part in the Anti-Hindi agitations of 1937-40 and in November 1938, was jailed for six weeks for participating in the agitations.
  • The public awareness created by her novel and her continuous campaign to abolish the devadasi system, were instrumental in the passage of the Madras Devadasi (Prevention of Dedication) Act or the Devadasi Abolition Bill, which outlawed the practice in 1947.
  • In 1949, she parted ways with Periyar, when he married Maniammai, a woman much younger than he was.
  • She became a supporter of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a new party started by Periyar's protege C. N. Annadurai.
  • She remained a DMK supporter till her death in 1962.
  • After seeing her dream became true, she passed away on 27 June, 1962.
  • In her memory, the Government of Tamil Nadu has instituted the "Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammal Ninaivu Marriage Assistance Scheme" - a social welfare scheme to provide financial assistance to poor women.
  • Eligibility for this as follows
    • Educational - The bride should have studied upto 10th Std. In case of Scheduled Tribe Qualification will be 5th Standard
    • Income limit Not exceeding Rs.12,000/- per annum
    • Age limit Bride should have completed 18 years of age



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