Meenakshi Raghavan

The warrior grandma

Meenakshi Raghavan possessed a belief right from her childhood – gender shouldn’t limit an individual from following one’s calling in life. She became an imparter of knowledge and instructor of Kalaripayattu. For more than six decades, she and her first Guru have been coaching students. And she does it for free.

Gone are the days of damsels in distress. Here’s a woman who can be her own knight in shining armour! Meenakshi is a fearless warrior and India’s most famous female exponent of the martial art of Kalaripayattu.

It all began a few years after India’s independence. Our fight for freedom had resulted in one more victory - the removal of restrictions that kept girls from learning how to fight. A young Meenakshi Raghavan, who had spent her entire childhood believing that gender shouldn’t limit an individual, jumped at this opportunity.

She began to master Kalaripayattu and further, began to teach it herself. Together, with her first guru, who went on to becoming her husband, she imparted her vast knowledge of the art. And her fee for the teachings? An ardent willingness to learn!

Her husband passed away seven years ago. But the fight in her hasn’t died down one bit! Watching her pursue martial arts and such a challenging one at that, inspired other women to follow in her footsteps. And with that, Meenakshi helped in the revival of India’s heritage and the ancient art form. She even made it relevant for today, as a form of self-defense.

Like any other true follower would agree, Meenakshi believes there is no room for aggression in martial arts. In fact, quite the contrary. What is needed is a strong resolve that can conquer the battle against our own extraneous thoughts. That’s what being a warrior is all about!

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