Padma Shri awardee Sulagitti Narasamma, a well-known midwife, passed away at age 98 in Bengaluru on Tuesday. President Ram Nath Kovind had presented the Padma Shri award to Narasamma on March 20, 2018.

Narasamma helped deliver over 15,000 babies free of charge in rural Karnataka

The famous midwife, who helped deliver over 15,000 babies, passed away at the BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals in Kengeri on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The woman, who was known for her generosity as well, suffered from a chronic lung disease and had been placed in ventilator support for five days. Former Karnataka Chief Minsiter BS Yeddyurappa visited the hospital to pay his respects to her.

As a Padma Shri awardee, Narasamma will now get a funeral with state honours

Her son told The New Indian Express that their family is in touch with the administration in her native Krishnapura in Karnataka’s remote Pavagada taluk to convert her burial site into a memorial.

Narasamma was born in 1920. She hailed from a community that was at the time referred to as ‘untouchable’. The woman conversed only in Telugu and was largely known for her affectionate behaviour.

Narasamma was known to be an expert when it came to traditional, unassisted deliveries. For over 70 years, she has helped women in rural Karnataka deliver babies.

Narasamma was given the title ‘sulagitti’, which is the Kannada word for midwife. She was known to have a gift for feeling the pulse of the baby in the womb without the help of any instruments

The midwife often also helped new mothers with Ayurvedic medicines to help them with any difficulties they faced in the postpartum period. In an interview with The New Indian Express earlier, she said that she learnt the art of delivering babies from her grandmother, who was a midwife too. Narasamma first assisted her grandmother with a delivery when she was a 20-year-old.

In 2014, the Tumkur University also conferred Narasamma with an honorary doctorate. Her other awards include the Kittur Rani Chennarng Award, Vayoshreshta Samman, Kannada Rajyotsal Award, D Devaraj Urs Award, the Murugha Sri Award from Murugha Mutt, and several other awards from NGO and social organisations.

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