Sulagitti Narasamma (98), a traditional midwife, who was bestowed with Padma Shri award in 2018, on Tuesday passed away at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals in Kengeri, Bengaluru. Last month, Narasamma was admitted to the Siddaganga Hospital and Research Centre in Bengaluru and was later referred to BGS Hospitals on November 29 following the complaint of chronic lung decease. She had been on the ventilator for the last five days and left for her eternal abode on Tuesday at about 3 pm in Bengaluru.
"Padma Shri awardee Sulagitti Narasamma passes away at the age of 98 years in Bengaluru. She had helped deliver more than 15,000 babies in Krishnapura, a remote village in Pavagada taluk in Karnataka," the news agency ANI reported.
Padma Shri awardee Sulagitti Narasamma passes away at the age of 98 years in Bengaluru. She had helped deliver more than 15,000 babies in Krishnapura, a remote village in Pavagada taluk in Karnataka. pic.twitter.com/QYvPHazyH2— ANI (@ANI) December 25, 2018
Soon after the news broke on the internet, several politicians, including former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa visited the hospital and mourned the sudden demise of Narasamma. Grieving over the loss of well-known midwife, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Narasamma will be always remembered for her significant efforts in midwifery services in Karnataka.
Taking to Twitter, Modi wrote, "Saddened by the demise of Padma Shri Sulagitti Narasamma Ji. Her efforts of providing midwifery services in Karnataka will always be remembered. Her kindness endeared her to the poorer sections of society. My thoughts are with her family and vast number of admirers".
Saddened by the demise of Padma Shri Sulagitti Narasamma Ji. Her efforts of providing midwifery services in Karnataka will always be remembered. Her kindness endeared her to the poorer sections of society. My thoughts are with her family and vast number of admirers.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 25, 2018
As people across India alike are shell shock by the sudden death of the midwife, here we bring you 5 lesser known facts about late Padma Shri awardee Sulagitti Narasamma:
1. Apart from Padma Shri, Narasamma had been honoured with the National Citizen's award of India and the country’s fourth highest civilian award for performing more than 15,000 traditional deliveries free of cost over a 70-year period of service in deprived regions of Karnataka with no medical facilities.
2. Born in Krishnapura, Pavagada taluk of Tumkur district, Narasamma belonged to a nomadic race and had no educational qualifications.
3. Besides midwifery skills, Narasamma learned the process of preparing natural medicines for pregnant women and became an expert in checking the health and condition of the baby.
4. She married her husband, Anjinappa, at the age of 12 in 1932.
5. The midwife is survived by four sons including activist Pavagada Sriram, three daughters and as many as 36 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Though Narasamma had 12 children, five of them had died at a young age.
Meanwhile, speaking to The New Indian Express, her son and social activist Sriram said that Narasamma will be accorded state honour and the district administration will take the final call on her last rites. The administration will also finalise the burial site and may convert it into a memorial soon.