Life & work.
MYTHILI, born on the 10th September, 1947 in Madurai as the granddaughter of Late Sri A. Vaidyanatha Iyer, the veteran Freedom Fighter and who opened the famous Madurai Meenakshi Temple for Harijans. Her parents Sri V.Sankaran and Smt Gouri Sankaran are also Social Workers. Her father was an advocate and the President of Tamilnad Harijan Sevak Sangh. This family is a Gandhian Family and wears only Khadi. Mythili is a spinner herself spins in her kisan charka everyday for an hour, which gives her mental strength she declares.
Though physically handicapped from her childhood, (Polio), she is very much interested in the welfare of others. It is the training from her parents who were dedicated social workers from well known freedom fighters families – Adv A Vaidyanatha Iyer and Shri M. S. Naryayana Iyer.
She did her schooling in St Joseph’s Girls high School Madurai. At her 13th year itself, she passed S.S.L.C. She had her degrees from the Fatima College and her post graduation in Mathematics from Madura College. She did her MA English as a private Candidate later.
Being attracted by Vivekananda’s speeches and writings she wanted to become one of the hundred youth who could turn India.
She was a voracious reader and before her 20th year she had completed reading almost all the books in the big library at her house and from many other libraries. She wanted to dedicate her life for the welfare of poor. With her parents’ encouragement and consent she joined Sri Saradha Samiti at Salem to become a Nun in order to sacrifice her life for others. At Salem she did her B.Ed course and specialized in Educational Administration.
Finding that she can do more social services at her house, which is opened for poor and needy for 24 hours she left Salem for good. With the training and guidance given by Swami Chithbavananda, at Salem she continued her spiritual practice and Social work in her own way.
In the mean time a call came from the Kasturba National Memorial Trust at Kasturbagram in Erode to organize a Girls school at Kasturbagram. It was a challenging job. Hearing that there was nobody to clean the septic tank and latrines she immediately went for the work. Seeing her at work all the inmates also co-operated. Within 24 hours everything became clean and tidy. The School was started with five classes. To collect the children from the nearby areas she began walking that gave strength to her polio legs. She used to walk more than 5 kms a day. After this experience of being a Headmistress for a year, she had gone to do her M.Ed. at Annammal Training College for women in Tuticorin.
After M.Ed, Dr (Mrs) Soundram Ramachandran wanted her to go over to Gandhigram to help her in Sevikashram, where widows, destitute and deserted wives are educated and rehabilitated. She not only gave education, but also self-confidence and mental and spiritual strength to the women.
At Gandhi gram she had accepted Dr G.Ramachandran as her Comrade Guru. This had changed the course of her life completely. GR had moulded her step by step as a dedicated social worker for the welfare of women and children.
To her quest for God in a scientific way GR introduced her to Yogoda Satsanga Society of India. He encouraged her to practice Yogoda in a systematic manner. She is a Yogodan with Swami Paramahansa Yogananda as her Spiritual Guru.
When Dr G.Ramchandran returned in 1980 to his hometown Neyyattinkara at his age of 75, Mythili came with him to take care of him in his old age. She took charge as the Secretary of the Madhavi Mandiram Loka Seva Trust founded by Dr G.Ramachandran in his mother’s name.
Under the Trust Mythili had organised many programmes for women and children. After a detailed survey she found there are women weavers in and around her area. With the help of Central Social Welfare Board and Khadi commission she had established a Khadi weaving Centre. She had specialized a special variety of Khadi Muslin saree similar to Kanchipuram silksarees. From sliver cotton to GR Saree all the works like spinning, dyeing, preprocessing making the warp & weft and weaving are done in this unit itself under her guidance. Her interest in Khadi developed in making new designs and in production of new type of quality Sarees – GR Saree.
She has also developed a Fibre Fancy Articles Production Unit under the Trust. She herself went for Banana and Talipot fibre collection, learnt the work and organized the Production. She introduced the Woolen designs in the fibre mats. Also combining the Fibre and Khadi weaving together she made Banana fibre cloth to Japan for making Kimona dresses.
Four day-care centres are conducted in various nearby villages to promote healthy atmosphere for the children and to their mothers in these remote rural areas. Mothers’ meetings in different centres paved the way for the labourers in these villages to have a good hygienic and healthy atmosphere in and around Neyyattinkara.
Seeing the pathetic condition of these women suffering from diseases due to unsanitary condition, she had accepted the challenge of making sanitary napkins for lower price. With that aim she had started a Small Scale Industry (Women Industries Programme) ‘DAYA’ on the 20th September 1985, making sanitary napkins as a cottage industry.
This unit has now developed into a special Hi-tech centre producing biomedical devices giving employment to more and more women in this area.
The ‘Daya’ Industry is the only SSI [women industry], which has ETO sterilization unit in Tvm Dt at that time This Industry has developed many items
a. Disposable Sterilised Hospital dressings for operation theatre
b. Disposable sterilised Urinary Drainage bags Disposable sterilized face masks & caps
c. Clean room wear for operation theatres
d. Sanitary napkins [sterilised] regular and maternity usage
e. Facility for ETO Sterilisation for hospital instruments
f. Special Incontinent pads for disabled children
g. Enema Bags for Naturopathy
In the meantime Dr Valiathan, then Director of Sri Chithra Medical Centre, who is the creator of ‘CHITRA VALVE’ wanted Sister to take up the Assembling work of the HEART VALVE for TTK Pharma. Thus was born HRIDAYA on 4th December 1995. The sewing rings of the Heart Valve are made with utmost care and cleanliness.
A CBSE SCHOOL known as Dr GR PUBLIC SCHOOL is also functioning under the leadership of Sister Mythili. This is a senior secondary school started in 1990, provisionally affiliated to CBSE up to XII STD. The school today has strength of 2768 students. 10% of the children are educated free of charge. The strength of teachers is 123. The school is most sought after in the town and is known for its all-round value-based education.
The school is famous for its value-based education along the guidelines laid by the Educationist Desikottama Dr G.Ramachandran.
Knowing the psychological changes towards women and children in the present pattern of life, the need of shelter for women who in distress was felt and this caused to open a new short stay home (Sakthimandiram) with the help of the Department of women and child development. Several training Programmes have been conducted by Sister to give self-confidence to women and make them stand on their own.
1. She is the Managing Trustee of the Madhavimandiram Loka Seva Trust after
2. The Proprietrix of Daya Industry, Hridaya & Sananthaka Hand Made paper Industry
3. The Life Trustee of Gandhigram, Madurai Dt.
4. The Senate member of Gandhigram Rural University
5. The Vice chairman of Kerala Harijan Sevak Sangh
6. Member of the High-level Committee of Kerala handicraft Development Corporation. Nominated by Government of Kerala
• On the 7th of January 2000, the Ladies wing of Indian Merchant Chambers honoured her with the Janaki Devi Bajaj Puraskar, which contains 1 lakh cash award and a citation.
• Neyyattinkara Public honoured her with a citation and gift on the 8th April 2002.
• Poura Samiti of Neyyattinkara Town honoured her for her selfess social work in 2005.
• She along several others as a team went to attend an International seminar in Tokyo Japan during September 2005. She presented a Paper in the Seminar arranged by the Institute of Oriental Philosophy. They honoured her by an Academic Excellency Award.
• Coinpar Padmasree MR Kurup Endowment Award 2006 was given to her for her life time achievement in uplifted and protecting the down trodden women and children.
• The Hindu Maha Sangamam honoured her for her service for society and work in Educational field, in Jan 2007.
• Participated in the World Convocation 2007 at LOS Angeles, U.S. arranged by Self Realization Fellowship - Yogoda
• Handicapped Persons Welfare Association of Kerala presented on Appreciation Award for the outstanding contribution and dedicated services for the physically handicapped welfare activities in Thiruvananthapuram in World Disabled Day 2007.
• Recipient of Emerging Entrepreneur Award by INDIA TODAY for women – Amway award in January 2011.
The goal of her life is Self-realization along the YOGODA Path. While practicing this, she engages herself in all these works with the motto FREE – FRANK – FEARLESS.