In this article, you will read about Essay on Baba Amte, His Early Life, Works, Personal Life, Death.
Murlidhar Devidas Amte, commonly known as Baba Amte, was kindness, personified, and savior of the neglected lot in our society. He was a true Gandhian who always had a simple life. Although he made a difference in the lives of many people through his action or work.
He was an Indian who worked tirelessly for the reformation of society. He was an active participant in social activity, particularly for the rehabilitation and empowerment of people suffering from leprosy.
He was awarded numerous awards and prizes which include the Padma Vibhushan, the Dr. Ambedkar International Award, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Gandhi Peace Prize, the Jamnalal Bajaj Award and the Templeton Prize
Murlidhar Devidas Amte was born in a wealthy Brahmin family on 26th December 1914 in the city of Hinganghat in the Wardha district of Maharashtra. His father was a British Government officer working for the district administration and revenue collection departments.
Murlidhar Amte was nicknamed “Baba” in his childhood, and his wife Sadhanatai Amte explains he came to known as Baba not because he was regarded as a saint or a holy person, but because his parents called him by that name. Baba was the eldest of the eight children.
Though he was born in a wealthy family, he was aware of the class inequality that prevailed in Indian society. In his childhood, he was very generous and always felt for the poor & helpless people.
He was always eye-catching for his attention towards the hardships, helplessness. He was also attentive towards the health problems of the poor laborers or workers.
He studied law and developed successful practice in Wardha. He was also involved in the Indian Struggle for freedom from the British Empire and soon started working as a defense lawyer for Indian leaders imprisoned by the British during the Quit India Movement.
As a young man, he was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and took part in the freedom struggle & went twice to jail. He was a follower of Gandhism and practiced by engaging in yarn spinning using charkha and weaning khadi.
He was always against the practice of ‘untouchability’ in society. He never believed that people could be judged as small or big, according to birth. He grew up high values and ideals. He once worked as a municipality cleaner, deliberately, to understand their feelings and problems.
Once he came across a leper (one who is suffering from leprosy) who had open wounds and in pain. Baba Amte was shaken and moved by the sight of the painful disease and the social stigma it caused. This was the incident that brought a huge change in his life, and he decided to work for the leprosy patients fearlessly.
He went to Kolkata, got specially trained in the field of leprosy, and treated several leprosy patients. They, too, started coming to him for treatment. Although people were not ready to accept them even if they were cured because it was believed that leprosy could not be cured & could spread by touch.
Baba wanted to aware of the society that leprosy patients too could lead normal lives and become normal citizens. He wanted them to lead a life of dignity and become independent.
So, with his enormous effort, he acquired 250 acres of land in the Chandrapur district of Maharastra. There he started Anandvani, where thousands of people, needy and men, and women afflicted with leprosy were treated and taught them to be self-sufficient on their own by doing cultivation, animal fanning, weaving, stitching and so on.
`Anandvan’ has got rooms for the patient, hospitals, schools, a hall for entertainment, garden, and small factories where things are made. It grew with the efforts of Baba Amte& his wife Sadhana Amte who, too, supported him with devotion, to make his dream true.
His son Vikas and Prakash, who are doctors, they too treat the patients here and are carrying on the good work- showing kindness, compassion 84, making them efficient and confident individuals.
Today, because of his efforts and selfless service, there is a smile on the faces of the poor and destitute people. Throughout his life, Baba Amte, through his work, tried to make the life of other people easy and smooth.
In 1990, he also supported the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA). He encouraged a lot of people to work for the voiceless people and also for the poor tribal. He was a factual social reformer. Till the last breath, he worked for the betterment of the needy fellow human beings.
Characteristically, Baba and his work have been far better received abroad than in his own country. Lady Barbara Ward Jackson, an economist who specializes in Third World problems, recommended his name for the Nobel Prize
Amte, notwithstanding his claim that he abhors personal publicity, has been lionized through the printed word in the West. The Unbeaten Track, a book by Count Arthur Tarnowski about men involved in path-breaking work around the world, and Turner’s More Than Conquerors contain glowing eulogies on the man and his achievements.
There have been, however, sounds of disapproval from World Health Organisation (WHO) officials who question the validity of segregating and colonizing leprosy patients in an age when the disease is wholly curable and no different, in principle, from other communicable diseases like tuberculosis and cholera.
Although he kept a very low profile, his works were noticeable and spread across the world. Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, has repeatedly appreciated his efforts in the development of the country. His projects have been analyzed, the models studied and appreciated, but that was never practically implemented due to the slow governmental procedure.
Personal Life and Family
Baba married Indu Ghuleshashtri later called as Sadhanatai Amte; she also helped her husband in his social work wholeheartedly. They have two sons Vikas Amte and Prakash Amte who are doctors, also his daughters-in-law are a doctor.
All four dedicated their lives to social work and caused similar to Baba’s work. Baba’s elder son Vikas and his wife Bharati run the hospital at Anandwan. His younger son Prakash and his wife Mandakini run a school and a hospital at Hemalkasa village.
In the underprivileged district of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra among the Madia Gond Tribe as well an orphanage for injured wild animals, including lion and some leopards. Baba’s grandsons (Prakash & Mandakini, two sons) are also doctors and have dedicated their lives to the same causes.
Anandwan has a university, a residential area for the orphans i.e., orphanage and a school for the deaf and the blind. Baba later founded “Somnath” and “Ashokwan” ashrams for people suffering from leprosy.
Complex surgical operations are performed in an area that has no electricity or running water, no telephones, and is cut off from the world for six months every year by the monsoons.
The Samiti’s projects, between them, produce enough grain and foodstuffs to be virtually independent, though government grants are received for the educational institutions and a portion of the leprosy treatment.
Amte passed away at Anandwan on 9th February in the year of 2008 in Maharashtra due to age-related illnesses.
Featured Image – Nytimes