Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy was the first woman medical graduate in India, the first woman to enter an Indian Legislature and the first woman in the world to preside over a Legislative Assembly. She resigned from this prestigious position, in protest against the arrest of Mahathmaji at Dandi in the Sathyagraha campaign of 1930.
Her life in the Legislative Council was entirely dedicated to the cause of protection of women and children. She piloted through many reforms towards this end - the Devadasi Abolition Act, the prevention of trade in women and cruelty to children, the establishment of vigilance homes for the so called rescued girls and homes for destitute children. She also established the first children’s hospital in India, the “Prince of Wales” hospital for sick children, now the “Kasturba Hospital”
In mid 1930, three teenage girls from Namakkal arrived suddenly one afternoon at Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy’s home. They were from Devadasi community. Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy’s “Devadasi Abolition Act” had liberated them from the ancient pernicious shackles of “Dedication at Temples”. They sought asylum, education and normal life. That afternoon “Avvai Home” was born. One ultimately became a Teacher, another a Doctor and the third a Staff Nurse.