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2138

02-10-2005

Dr.T.S.Soundram

Type: Commemorative Stamp
Denomination: 5 Rupees
Colour: Multicoloured
Market Rate: Rs. 20
Size: 348 X 258 Cms
Quantity Printed: 0.6 Million
Stamps Per Sheet: 35 Nos.
Printing Process: Photogravure
Printer: India Security Press, Nasik
Stamp Design: Sankha Samanta
Cancellation Design: Nenu Gupta

A pioneer of womenís awakening in pre-independence India, Dr. T.S. Soundram was one of the early campaigners for liberating the Indian Women from shackles of illiteracy, moribund social customs and inequality.

A Gandhian and a freedom fighter, Dr. T.S. Soundram was a committed social worker, a doctor of repute and a Parliamentarian. She set a personal example by courageously defying customs and traditions, yet firmly adhering to the spirit of Indianness.

Dr. T. S. Soundram was born on 18th August, 1904 to industrialist T.V. Soundaram Iyengar and Lakshmi Ammaiyar. As per prevailing custom, she was married at a tender age in 1918 to Soundararajan, a doctor who was an enlightened and a liberal person. During his extensive work amongst the victims of plague in Madurai in 1925, he succumbed to the disease when he was only in his twenties.

Encouraged by her progressive parents, Soundram performed brilliantly at the Lady hardinge Medical College in New Delhi. It was during her college days in Delhi that she made friends with Susheela Nayyar and through her, met Gandhiji. She joined the freedom struggle but continued her studies in medicine and passed with flying colours in 1936. In Delhi she met Ramachandran who was active in the Harijan movement initiated by Gandhiji. Defying her parentsí wishes, Soundram married Ramachandran with the blessings of Gandhiji on 7th November 1940. She began her medical practice on her return to Madras.

In 1942 the couple joined the Quit India Movement. Gandhiji appointed her the representative of the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust in South India and she was asked to set up a rural institution in a remote place to serve the most deprived of people, to provide them with skills and support to revive village industries and thereby strengthen the rural community. This resulted in the formation of Gandhigram, which was launched formally on 7th October, 1947. She started Gandhigram to help the rural poor for their growth and development in the fields of health, education, economic development and social welfare. Sowbhagya Illam and Sevikashram were two of her favourite projects.

Dr. T.S. Soundram was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly twice in 1952 and 1957. She become a Member of Parliament in 1962 and the same year she became the Union Deputy Minister for Education where she distinguished hereself by introducing compulsory and free primary education all over India and promoted the National Service Scheme (NSS).

Dr. T.S. Soundram was awarded the Padam Bhushan in 1962. Her tireless collection campaign for the National Defence Fund during the war was much appreciated by all including the Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

She passed away on 21st October 1984 and as per her desire, her eyes were donated.

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