Monday, June 13, 2022

Pudhumai Penn (New-Age Woman)

Winston Churchill said: "You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.” Very few people have the opportunity to learn what it means to serve others through use of their time and efforts. Recently, I met one of those people. 

Her name is Maria. Name changed for privacy’s sake. She is of Chinese origin born in Singapore. After graduating from her college, one day she saw a documentary on TV about the life of poor children in a remote mountainous area of China. Maria grew up in a wealthy environment. She was shocked when she saw this documentary on TV. 

That day she decided to go to that area of China she saw on TV and do some voluntary work. 

She went to China. She was moved by the poor living condition of those children. They were growing up impoverished. They had lacked food, sanitation, health care, and education. Maria decided to do volunteer teaching. Like everyone else, she had to get up early every day to feed all kinds of livestock and walk a long way to school. She taught kids of 7 and 8 year old for six months. 

Maria then decided that just teaching them knowledge will not improve their living condition. She decided to open up a business and make some money and use that money to help those poor children. She quit her voluntary teaching job. Came back to Singapore. Started a business. 

Maria is now a successful business woman. She is financially helping those poor children of that remote mountainous area of China. 

I digress. In 1908, Tamil Poet Bharathiyaar wrote a poem titled Pudhumai Penn. Translation: A Vision for the New-Age Woman. Here is a translation in English a few lines:

“Her head held high, and looking everyone in the eye, 
Unafraid of anyone because of innate integrity, 
Possessing assuredness born of courage of conviction, 
The Modern Woman never feels inferior to any.” 

In my opinion, I find Maria is an example of Bharathiyaar’s Pudhumai Penn.


  1. Reminds me of Bharathiraja film Pudhumai Penn. It sounds easy while reading it, but God only knows how much trouble she would have encountered doing all this social services. Travelling to unknown mountains and villages is not very safe especially in a foreign turf. Anyway, God bless her.

  2. What a wonderful human being she is. The whole world should be proud of her. She is a true example of our great poet Bharathiyaar and she is living upto the Quote of Winston Churchill. Thanks for bringing her service to light. Your blog will encourage many women to become a Pudhumai Pen. This is one of your best blogs. Please continue to do this indirect service to humanity.

  3. In today's world lot of people talk the talk ... but never walk the walk...... I am feeling so empowered, seeing how Maria has chosen to help support those who need it the most... kudos to her and her effort.

  4. An inspiring lady. None would have found fault with her if she had continued to stay in rich comfort at Singapore. But,she turned out to be a Pudhumai penn by traveling and staying in unfavourable conditions to find first hand the issues and what needed to be done. May her story impel others to do their bit.

    1. Thanks for your comments Mr, KP. Yes sir, she turned out to be a Pudhumai Penn.

  5. When people are young, they generally tend to want to do social service and such. But once they settle, their priorities change.

    Good too see some people retaining their passion.

    1. Thanks for your comments Rajesh. Maria indeed retained her passion.

  6. Wonderful true-life story of the inspiring woman.
    Love the 1908 lines of the poet. Still relevant even after more than a century. Great translation!
    Going to quote these lines for sure :)

  7. The title should be "pudhumai manithan".. its about a good heart not a gender!!!